Tag: podcast

Episode #109: Copywriting For Social Media & Email

So you’ve got a social media post to make or an email to send out, but what exactly do you say? Are you seeing the results you want from your posts and emails? 

Whatever your situation is with your copywriting, it can always improve. This week, we’re sharing a live stream from the Savvy Musician Inner Circle in which C.J. teaches a packed lesson on copywriting for social media and email. If you want more results from your posts and emails, tune in to this week’s episode!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Traditional copywriting
  • Personal vs impersonal branding
  • Compound marketing
  • Positioning is branding
  • Your ideal customer
  • Audience targeting
  • Direct response marketing
  • Benefit-driven copy
  • Building long-term relationships


“Writing copy for your personal brand on social media and email is going to require modifying traditional copywriting. But you must still understand the fundamentals in order to know why.” – @metalmotivation [0:05:40]

“You can’t write your copy if you don’t know who you are.” – @metalmotivation [0:08:45]

“Half the battle of great copywriting is audience targeting.” – @metalmotivation [0:11:00]

“That’s your ideal customer, the person who’s going to most going to benefit from what you’re offering.” – @metalmotivation [0:11:47]

“Direct response marketing relies upon you targeting the right audience with benefit-driven copy.” – @metalmotivation [0:17:38]

“People are expecting results quicker than they should. And the reason being is because they don’t have a relationship established.” – @metalmotivation [0:20:11]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

The Online Musician 3.0 — https://explodeyourfanbase.com

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

The Inner Circle — https:savvymusicianacademy.com/innercircle

Click For Full Transcript

00:21 CJ: Welcome to The Savvy Musician Show. This is CJ Ortiz. I’m the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. Thanks once again for joining me on this premier music marketing podcast.

I’ve got something special in store for you today. I want to take you inside our Savvy Musician Inner Circle, where we do a live stream each Friday afternoon at 3:00 PM, where we go into teaching the depths of music marketing. I thought it would be a great idea to kind of give you an inside look at what happens in one of these private Facebook groups, so I’ve decided to share the first part of a brand new series I’m doing on copywriting for social media and email.

The game has changed. I’ll explain why in this particular session, but I think you’re going to get a lot out of it. And again, I want to give you a behind the scenes, look at some of the powerful things we’re doing here at the Savvy Musician Academy, specifically in the Savvy Musician Inner Circle, let’s go to that live stream right now.

I’m thrilled to be able to start this new series with you guys about copywriting, copywriting for social media and email. Put on your seatbelts, man. Copywriting for social media and email marketing. This first part, direct response marketing. That is the traditional term. Direct response marketing. It’s much, much different in the age in which we live now because social media and email are changing the game.

Now, email can be a tad bit different and we’ll get into that, obviously, but for the most part, social media has changed even that. Because now, things have become so personable, things have become such an issue of following, you are following certain people, that email becomes an extension of the first place that they originally met you, which is going to be on social media. So my, how things have changed. Writing great copy is different in the age of social media.

Why is that? Now, when I say different, we’re setting it off against traditional copywriting. Now, I was taught traditional copywriting. That’s where I cut my teeth. Traditional copywriters never had to consider something like writing for social media because there obviously was no social media. They would have preferred it. You ask any marketer, they would say, “If we’d have had something like this back in the day to talk to people at this level, target people at this level, personally,” they would have loved it.

Traditional copywriters never had to consider writing for social media, especially when it’s a personal brand. Okay, now, again, this is different. What’s the opposite of a personal brand? Well, that would be an impersonal brand. Well, what is an example of an impersonal brand? Well, that would be Coca-Cola, Nike, Amazon, Apple. They are impersonal brands. When you see the Facebook page of any one of those corporations, you’re not talking to the CEO every day like say, your fans will talk to you every day.

You are a personal brand. So traditional copywriting never really had to deal with personal brands before because traditional copywriting was always anonymous. The person that was writing the copy was not even an employee of the corporation. Those who are writing copy are typically outside agencies that are being hired. So traditional copywriting is anonymous. Traditional copywriting is focused on trying to get strangers to act immediately, right? It’s direct response.

So they’re trying to get you to act immediately when they don’t have a whole lot of time to create the know, like, and trust element. They don’t have a lot of time. You get the piece of mail, they’ve got seconds to lure you in to read what’s inside that envelope. Most of the time, you just throw the envelope away, right?

Traditional copywriting also does not create longterm relationships. So the copy that you read in a sales letter or something like that is not copy that’s designed to carry you to the next letter they’re going to send you. So they’re not finishing that letter by saying, “Hey, look forward to our letter coming next week.” They’re not trying to cultivate a longterm relationship with you. They’re trying to make a single sale in one item, in one marketing device. Okay?

So the kind of copywriting that we’re doing is different. We’re not going for the sale on the first time out. We’re not trying to sleep with the girl on the first date, right? We’re trying to build a relationship. So that has an effect on the copy.

05:09 CJ: Social media is changing the way we need to think about writing copy. It’s changing the way we need to think about it. So some of your copy is going to involve sales, obviously. Some of your copy is going to involve storytelling, right? Sharing that personal stuff. Some of your copy is going to involve conversation.

So it’s going to be so much different than traditional copywriting, but just because it is doesn’t mean we don’t need to be focused on traditional copywriting or the principles that govern it. Writing copy for your personal brand on social media and email is going to require modifying traditional copywriting. But you must still understand the fundamentals in order to know why.

So again, I hope I’m getting this point across that we’re now writing. Our copywriting is for personal branding. You are not a corporation. You are not a store. You are a personal brand. Even if you’re in a band, you’re in a personal brand situation. And this is social media, so it’s not one sales item, one marketing piece that you’re sending them. You are leading them into a relationship.

Not underhanded, I’m talking about something sneaky. I’m just saying, they’re being led along a customer journey, right? So you’re going to have this ongoing relationship, so that needs to inform how you write your copy. But you still need to understand the fundamentals of traditional copywriting because they’re going to weave in and out.

So the key here is now positioning yourself. See, so many other elements go into copywriting and it’s going to be important that you keep that in mind. We’ll talk about that. Images, all of this. Everything goes into the positioning of your personal brand and that informs together, they are one message. I’m not trying to separate copy just because we’re talking about copywriting doesn’t mean images aren’t important. We’re not going to talk about video. We’re not going to talk about other things. No, they all work together.

I’ll talk about them together. The emphasis is going to be on copy, but I’ll be talking about images and video and all that sort of stuff, because it works together. I want you to see these things as working together.

It’s like exercise, right? If you’re a bodybuilder, you train body parts in isolation. But what you’re going to hear a lot about today, for example, now, is functional training, which means doing functional movements. Because you’re not just trying to build muscle with functional training, you’re trying to strengthen yourself to handle the more common, functional aspects of life.

So the movements involved now, what they call compound movements. A compound movement is when you’re doing a training that involves multiple body parts, not just one. So you’re not just isolating a curl, for example. You’re doing a squat or a deadlift that involves both the back and the arms and the shoulders and the quads, all of these sorts of things, right?

It’s a compound. It’s made up of many body parts doing the movement, not just one. So what I’m talking about his compound training here. Even though we’re emphasizing copywriting, it’s going to be involving multiple aspects because they work together in your marketing and I don’t want you to see them in isolation. I don’t want you to see copy divorced from images and vice versa.

Okay, so great copy takes into consideration the positioning of a product or person. Great copy is going to take into consideration the positioning of a product or person. You can’t write your copy if you don’t know who you are. You can’t write your copy if you’re not sure about your brand, sure about your positioning. So positioning is another word for effective branding. I prefer the word positioning to branding, but I’m going to use branding because that’s what people understand.

The problem I have with the word branding is branding implies something that seen. Okay, branding implies something that’s seen. So if I say “brand,” people think logo, cereal box, soup can label, right? Website. That’s what they think of when they think of branding. The decals on the side of a work truck. That’s what they think when they think of branding, they think of something seen.

No, those are all manifestations of branding. But branding is something that happens in the mind. That’s what branding is. It’s an indelible, unerasable mark, right? You brand a cattle, you burn into their skin, a brand, a mark. It’s an image you cannot erase. Same thing that actual branding, it’s something that gets stamped onto the mind of your potential marketplace that cannot be erased. But that’s also the positioning that your personal brand holds. It’s the position you hold in your potential marketplace.

Positioning, therefore, must inform your copywriting. You want to position yourself, which means to determine the most beneficial function of something directed at the ideal customer for it, right? If you want to position yourself, it means determine the most beneficial function of something directed at the ideal customer for it.

10:26 CJ: So what’s the most beneficial function of your personal brand, right? It’s obviously music, inspiration, other types of things. All of these things work together. That’s the beneficial function. In other words, the function of your personal brand that causes a benefit in the ideal customer. That’s positioning. Those are the two things you want. You want to fully understand your most beneficial function directed at your most ideal customer. That’s how you are positioned.

Now, half the battle here, half the battle of great copywriting is audience targeting. Now, that may sound obvious at the outset, but a lot of people don’t think of it this way. Great copy is only great when it’s directed at the right person, whose life would be most changed by the benefit of what you offer. Okay?

So somebody could send me something, like some little doodad for my house. I don’t really need it. I guess it’ll help out, but it’s not really something I’m thinking about. It’s not a pressing problem. I mean, it kind of helped, but not really. I don’t really care. So great copy is only going to be great when it’s directed at the right person, whose life would most be changed by the benefit of what you offer. That’s your ideal customer, the person who’s going to most going to benefit from what you’re offering.

So think of musical genre way, think of micro niche that way. Think of your personal brand and what you post that way. What you say in your email, think of it that way. Great copy is directed at the person whose life would most be changed by the benefit of what you offer.

So you’ve probably, for example, thrown away a ton of great sales copy that you’ve never even read. You’ve thrown away tons and tons of great, well-written sales copy simply because when you opened your mailbox and saw the sales envelope, it was from a company selling something you don’t need. Great sales copy, phenomenal sales copy. And you threw it in the trash. Why? Because what you saw from the envelope, from the direct mail piece, it doesn’t apply to you. Or from the email, it really doesn’t apply to you. So you never read it.

What good is great copy if it’s not targeted to the right people, right? Half the battle is audience targeting, I’ll make the point even more so. But if someone sent you something that could solve your most pressing problem, how good would their copy really need to be?

Couldn’t they just say, “If you’re struggling with blank, call us at 1-800 We Fix It for a free consultation.” So long as that blank is something that’s one of your most pressing problems, you’re listening now. And the copy doesn’t need to be as good, does it?

Literally, somebody could get somebody’s response right there alone. If you’re struggling with blank, call me. Sure. Well, you say, “No, that wouldn’t work CJ.” Oh, really? You find your most pressing problem, yeah. You’ll call me.

Imagine yourself with a toothache. A really, really bad toothache and it’s a Saturday night, midnight when it just starts to hurt you. And you’re like, “What am I going to do? I can’t get my dentist to do anything now.” And all of a sudden you see an infomercial on TV that says, “If you’re struggling with the toothache on a Saturday night at 12:00 and your dentist isn’t available and you want relief in the next 10 minutes, call now.” Don’t you think you’d call?

Yeah, because it’s about as relevant to a pressing problem as you could possibly get. We want to get as close as we can to that, but that’s half the battle. So how great does my copy need to be to get somebody to call? Not great. I just need to really amplify and describe their problem to them and they’ll call. Make sense?

Writing to create response. This is what this is. This is direct response marketing. David Ogilvy, one of the most famous and successful advertisers who have ever lived. He once wrote, “I do not regard advertising as entertainment or an art form, but as a medium of information. When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it creative. I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product.” For example, “When Aeschines spoke, they said, ‘How well he speaks.’ But when Demosthenes spoke, they said, ‘Let us march against Philip.'”

15:09 CJ: He’s referring to the age of the rhetoric guys, back in ancient Greece. So one guy gets up, Aeschines, and he says his speech and everybody says, “Oh, well, how well this guy speaks, how wonderful, what a creative, wonderful speech. We all clap our hands.” When he gets up and speaks, they say, “let’s march against Phillip. Let’s take action.”

Direct response copywriting. It’s not about being flowery, friendly, creative or any of that stuff. I don’t give a damn about being creative. I want to be clear. And I want to cause direct response. I want to cause action to be taken. That’s what you want.

Think of some of the commercials that you love. Half the time it’s because they were funny or creative or something like that, but you don’t remember necessarily what was being sold or who was selling it. Doesn’t matter.

It’s far better to have the infomercial saying, “If it’s midnight and you’ve got a toothache and your dentist is nowhere to be found and you need pain relief in the next 10 minutes, call now.” You don’t give a damn about creativity or anything like that, right? It’s copy directed at you to create a response. You’re writing to create response, which is why it’s called direct response. We want a direct response, not a general response, a direct response. That’s marketing.

Ogilvy also said, “Every copywriter should start his career by spending two years in direct response.” Well, that’s what you’re doing. That’s why Leah said that even if you don’t have a career in music, if you go through the elite course, for example, you can have a career writing copy. You can have a career in direct marketing, because you’re going to know how to sell anything.

You could sell your marketing services. That’s reason enough to go through Super Fan System Elite Program, because not only can you sell your music, but you can get a whole bunch of clients that you could market to. Think about that one.

Benefits versus features. Benefits versus features. See, every product has a feature, right? I have a microphone here. It has certain features. I can look through the manual and look at all the technical features of this. I don’t care about it. I’m interested in the benefits. How will it make me sound? Can it be plugged into this? How much is it? I want to know more specific things relating to me.

Direct response marketing relies upon you targeting the right audience with benefit-driven copy. Direct response marketing is targeting the right audience with benefit-driven copy. Not feature-driven, benefit-driven.

This means understanding the difference between benefits and features. Some people still get these two confused. So nearly three quarters of people who read information that is helpful to them, it’s going to be information that tells them about something. They read information that’s helpful to them. They don’t read information that’s a description about something. They’re not interested so much in product information. They’re interested in benefits. So when people will read copy and keep reading it, it’s because it keeps telling them what it’s going to do for them.

If all you get into is a description of product and service, people are going to start checking out. Even if you are mentioning features, they have to be phrased in a way that’s a benefit. Again, go back to the microphone here. You say this particular technical feature will give you the warm sound you’ve always dreamed of. Sound like other professional radio and podcast performers with this new PR-40 microphone from Heil.

People want to know how you can help them. How you can make them feel better, right? People are after two things. Pleasure, gaining more pleasure, or getting rid of pain. It’s the two things they want. They want to gain pleasure, or they want to get rid of pain. Doesn’t matter what it is. That’s their primary motives in life. So it doesn’t matter what you’re selling, what you’re offering, what you’re doing, what you’re communicating. It’s got to be addressing one of those two things, helping them gain pleasure or helping them avoid pain.

So it’s all about relationship building. I’m going to cover more depth in this series, but here’s what you got to keep in mind. Great copy will play a major part in your branding as well as the relationship that you build with your fans.

And I can’t emphasize the relationship aspect enough. You can’t create relationship with mechanics. It doesn’t work. Just like you began with theory and technique in becoming a musician, you create art when you become one with them. So the problem students have is that they’re focused on the technology and the technique and so they expect results quicker than they should.

20:06 CJ: And I see this all the time. I’ve seen it this week in the Facebook groups. People are expecting results quicker than they should. And the reason being is because they don’t have a relationship established. So that is going to be affected, obviously, by copy. They haven’t created that relationship yet.

You see, because everything that you’re learning right now, think of it, whether it’s e-commerce or creating a mailing list or opt-ins or running ads for page likes or boosting posts or anything that you do online, that you’re learning from the Savvy Musician Academy.

Think of them like when you took piano classes or when you took guitar lessons or whatever it may be. Remember when you learned the rudiments? Remember how mechanical everything was? And then think how long it took for you to get to the place where you weren’t thinking so much about that anymore and it was morphing into art. You weren’t thinking so much about those things. It was more focused on art.

Well, it’s the same thing here. So when I see somebody who’s been in, for example, our Elite course, and they get to the eCom Blitz and they start that, or the opt-ins and they start that, the next thing you know, they’re like, “I’m not getting any results.” So then they go back into the group and they post, “Hey, other Elite students. Why don’t you share with me what you guys did for your nurture emails? Show me what you guys did for your eCommerce blitz. What kind of results did you get? How much are your ads? Can I see your ads?” Et cetera, et cetera.

They’re trying to find out what the problem is. The problem is you’re trying to create art and you’re still dealing with the fundamentals. You’re still dealing with technique. Your people aren’t ready to buy yet. You’re learning stuff and I know you want to make money and I know you want to turn this thing quickly, but you haven’t built the relationship yet. So it’s just not going to work. It’s very mechanical. And so you expect results a little bit too quickly.

That’s why I’m always telling you, the majority of what we’re dealing with. It has more to do with the personal, not so much the software, not so much the methodology.

You think, “Okay, I I did my fan frenzy. I’ve got this many fans now. I’ve done some posting, I’ve done some Facebook lives and now I’m retargeting that few hundred people. I’ve got 300 people on my email list and I’m ready for my album launch. I’m ready for my whenever.” You’re not ready.

You’re not ready and that’s okay. This is longterm, what we’re building. It’s important that you learn all of this. Which is why I think the Savvy Musician Inner Circle was so important because I needed a way to do a little more personal coaching because I can’t talk to everybody, there’s just too many of you. But I needed a way to focus on the things where I see people are struggling and through this sort of format of both teaching, as well as answering questions and that sort of thing, I can focus in on the areas where I see people struggling.

So again, I’m watching what’s happening in the Facebook groups. I don’t comment on everybody’s posts. I got my stuff to do, too y’all. But I see what people are saying and I know what the problem is. You can look at everybody else’s email campaigns, everybody else’s ads, everybody else’s ad manager, everybody else’s cost per click. You could look at everybody else’s results and it’s not going to make a difference. Your audience isn’t buying because they’re not ready to buy yet.

And the reason why they’re not ready to buy yet is not because they don’t have money. They’ll turn their nose at your t-shirt ad or your CD offer and then later that night buy a bunch of pizza and beer. It ain’t about money. It’s about desire. You haven’t created desire yet. You’re trying to sleep with your Tinder date on the first time you go out. You got to build the relationship. You got to build the relationship. Does that make sense? I hope it does.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this special podcast featuring the live stream from our Savvy Musician Inner Circle. If you’d like to get your feet wet in marketing, or if you’d like to just get plugged in to a place where you can learn the lingo, learn more about the software, learn more about the techniques of copywriting and email and graphics and branding and positioning, all of the wonderful stuff that will help you move your music business forward, I encourage you to sign up today for the Savvy Musician Inner Circle.

You can learn more at savvymusicianacademy.com/innercircle. It’s just $27 a month and I think your music career is worth that much. Also, if you’d like, you could leave a review for this podcast. We certainly encourage that. It’s a great way to help other musicians like yourself discover the Savvy Musician Academy. Plus, we read all of your comments so it’s a great way for us to get insight from you, how the podcast is affecting you, what needs to be said. And of course, it’s a huge encouragement for us so please do that today.

25:14 CJ: And again, thank you for all the wonderful support that you give us here at the Savvy Musician Academy. I’ll be with you next time on The Savvy Musician Show. Take care.

The entire music industry just changed overnight. Suddenly, every band and musician has had their live gigs canceled indefinitely. No one knows when live events are coming back. When they do, the competition will surely be fierce. Artists are realizing they have to pivot quickly if they want to earn an income with their music. Musicians are now scrambling to figure out how to sell their music online. They need answers and they need them now.

If this is you, then discover our new Savvy Musician Inner Circle membership. It’s a private subscription-based coaching group to help you launch and market your online music business fast. For one low monthly subscription, you’ll get live weekly marketing instruction plus tips, tools, news updates, and your questions answered. It all takes place in a private Facebook group that I, CJ Ortiz, will be hosting and I’d love to help you build your online music business. To learn more, go right now to savvymusicianacademy.com/innercircle.

Episode #108: The Power Of Personal Branding For Your Music Business

When people think of you and your music, what do they think of? Well, whatever that is, that’s your brand! What we want, is to design and utilize this idea to build your music business.

This idea should be personal, authentic, and we want to amplify it however we can. If you understand how important this is, then you already know the next step is to click that play button and try and learn as much as you can from C.J. in this week’s episode of the Savvy Musician Show.

Key Points From This Episode:

  • What is branding?
  • Idea-driven branding
  • What differentiates you in the marketplace?
  • The effective marketing strategy
  • Personal branding
  • Brand awareness/engagement/marketing
  • Being authentic


“65% of those surveyed following the Savvy Musician Academy… are solo artists, not actually band members.” – @metalmotivation [0:03:23]

“Branding is not something seen. It’s something that happens first in the mind of the marketplace, in the mind of your potential super fan, when they encounter you and interact with you.” – @metalmotivation [0:06:28]

“It’s not just an issue of who can spend the most money on advertising. It’s an issue of who can most differentiate themselves, which is again, idea-driven branding.” – @metalmotivation [0:08:57]

“The new era of digital marketing is really personal branding.” – @metalmotivation [0:10:54]

“Your personal brand is something that’s already inherent in you.” – @metalmotivation [0:20:38]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

David Williams’ Facebook Page — https://www.facebook.com/weltermusic/

The Online Musician 3.0 — https://explodeyourfanbase.com

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

The Inner Circle — https:savvymusicianacademy.com/innercircle

Click For Full Transcript

00:21 CJ: Welcome to the Savvy Musician Show. This is CJ Ortiz. I’m the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. Thank you once again for joining me for the premier music marketing podcast. I am so glad you’re here. I’m so glad you listen. I’m so glad that you support this show.

Before we get into today’s topic, let me just share a student spotlight with you. This is from one of our long time elite students, David Williams from Australia. He writes, “#win. Seeing my R-O-A-S,, ROAS or Return On Ad Spend, is a nice feeling. And at the same time, to hit 58% of our target on our crowdfunding campaign on day four of 30 is very rewarding. Now is not the time for us to sit back and become complacent. Now is the time to dig deep and work harder. The new goal is to get 200% or more of our target, and the only way to do this is by engagement and connection with our audience. If your super fans feel they have a relationship with you, then they will do what you ask them to do.

Proof of this, we had fans in the US … I’m in Australia … rally together on their own accord and make a single $1,200 pledge. Now our job is to learn more about these fans. The more we know about them the more we know who to target, as there are thousands of them out there waiting. We still have a long way to go in understanding our audience, but by the results we are seeing, we are getting there.”

Isn’t that awesome? Great job, David Williams. Welter is the band out there in Australia, again, working very hard at their branding and connecting with their audience, which leads me into today’s topic, the power of personal branding in your music business. That’s the power of personal branding in your music business.

Now, branding is one of my specialties. I’ve been involved in it for years and years and years. I’ve been in advertising, marketing, branding, promotion and the like for 30 years. That’s my field of degree. That’s what my degrees are in. That’s what my professional life has been about for tens of thousands of hours over those 30 years. I’ve seen just about everything that can be seen. I’ve done everything from the design to the advertising, copywriting, public relations, publishing.

I’ve served as an editor and branding consultant for every kind of organization, both profit, nonprofit, personal. You name it, I’ve done it. This is a topic that I’m very, very versed in. And in the age of social media now where there’s so many people talking about these things … Most people weren’t talking about branding 10 years ago. I was. But now with social media, everybody is talking about that.

Now, in a recent survey done here at the Savvy Musician Academy … I was looking at the statistics the other day … we learned that 65% of those we surveyed were solo artists. Isn’t that interesting? 65% of those surveyed following the Savvy Musician Academy, engaging with the content, 65% are solo artists, not actually band members.

For those of our students who are in bands, it is still the case that the marketing being done is still done by an individual, which means that branding can be a tricky thing when you take into account that branding process is happening primarily on social media. In other words, a band is not writing collectively on social media. It’s typically one member of the band. And even in our courses, both elite and the online musician, we typically have a single band member that’s taking the course and then relaying information and such to their band, but also bands are smart to appoint somebody to do this.

But either way, you’ve got to think through the branding process. First of all, what is a brand? It might help to get that defined because the word is put about so much that I don’t think it’s adequately defined. What I want to do is first, we’ll define branding by defining first what it is not, okay? Branding is not something seen with your eyes. Now, that’s important because that’s usually what people think. Branding is not something seen. In other words, it’s not a logo. It’s not a product label. It’s not packaging, okay? It’s not a website. Branding is also not a story, although a good many self-appointed branding experts would say, otherwise. They’re saying, “Well, your brand is your personal story.” No, that’s not your brand. A story is not a brand. People are only so interested in your story.

05:18 CJ: Branding is also not a promise, although again, that seems to be what’s touted online by the so-called experts who were saying nothing about the topic just a few years ago. You see, here’s what happens, guys. People are online seeing other people making money with an online business and so they take courses and the people teaching the courses tell these people about branding and marketing and copywriting and social media. Then, these people go and they start their own businesses teaching the very same thing. But for the most part, there are very, very few people out there who’ve done branding for umpteen years like I have, very few. It’s not something you see. It’s not a story. It’s not a promise. Now, I’m not saying those things don’t matter. We’ll talk about that, okay? But that’s not the essence of what branding is.

If branding is not something visual, then what is it? Branding is not something seen by the eyes. It’s something that happens in the mind, and in particular, what happens in the mind of your potential super fan when they first encounter you and then interact with you, okay? Branding is not something seen. It’s something that happens first in the mind of the marketplace, in the mind of your potential super fan, when they encounter you and interact with you.

The branding process is going on the entire time and you’re either reinforcing your brand or you are distorting it. See, some people come up with what they think is their brand and then they operate differently for the rest of the time, so their audience gets confused. They don’t know what this person or organization or business is about, so you’re either reinforcing your brand at all times, or you are distorting it, confusing your message.

But again, branding happens in the mind, not the eyes. It happens in the mind. But what does the mind hold? What goes in the mind? The mind holds ideas, okay? The mind holds ideas, which is why a strong, differentiating idea needs to be driving your music business. Differentiating means the thing that gives you and your brand distinction from your competition. That is a differentiating idea. The differentiating, the thing that makes you different, must be strong so that it can drive itself into the mind of your marketplace.

Let’s take, for example, the idea behind Leah’s music business. Leah has done a fantastic job, first of all, of targeting her audience based upon her micro niche of female-fronted Celtic metal, but her brand, or the idea behind her music, is that she’s blending an almost new age type of sound with heavy metal, okay? This is why she’s referred to as the heavy metal Enya. And that happened years and years ago and I’m the one who mentioned that to her, because at the time I was listening to some Enya and I heard her music for the first time. I said, “You’re like a heavy metal version of Enya.”

In other words, Leah is creating the type of musical dynamic created by new age artists like Enya. And that is just enough of a differentiation to help her stand out from other female-fronted metal bands who happen to be on record labels. Isn’t that interesting? Because it doesn’t matter whether you’re on a record label or you’re doing it yourself like Leah is, you’re all being featured on social media, so the competition is now equal. It’s not just an issue of who can spend the most money on advertising. It’s an issue of who can most differentiate themselves, which is again, idea- driven branding.

Therefore, what I teach is that the real purpose of an effective marketing strategy is to amplify your differentiated brand to a new audience while reinforcing in as many ways as possible to your existing audience. Okay, I’m going to say that again. What I’m teaching is that the real purpose of an effective marketing strategy … I didn’t say branding strategy, marketing strategy … is to amplify your differentiated brand to a new audience while reinforcing it as many ways as possible to your existing audience.

The purpose of marketing is to amplify the brand. That’s the purpose of marketing. Marketing is not just sales. The real purpose of marketing is to amplify branding, okay? It’s to amplify your differentiated brand to both a new audience, as well as your continual content that reinforces that brand within your existing audience. And reinforcing to your audience means dramatizing that idea-driven brand in as many ways as possible, okay?

10:21 CJ: Now, social media makes this beyond easy because platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow you to create various forms of content, such as images, text, video articles, and more, okay? That’s what I mean by dramatizing it. You dramatize that brand. In other words, you put it in action. You show it displayed. You manifest it through the images, through the texts things that you post, through the videos that you do through the articles that you write, through the products that you show, through the music that you feature.

This is all amplifying. This is all dramatizing and therefore marketing your brand awareness. This is why branding and the new era of digital marketing is really personal branding, okay? The branding in the new era of digital marketing is personal branding and not branding in the traditional sense, such as that done by major corporations like Coca-Cola, Apple, Nike, Amazon, et cetera, right?

In other words, places like Apple, companies like Nikon, Amazon, Coca-Cola, the head of the company is not on there every day interacting with fans or customers, right? These are big corporations, big entities. They cannot personal brand. You are personal branding, even if you’re in a band. And if you’re a solo artist, even more so, okay? But if you’re in a band, it’s still personal branding That’s working because fans are following and interacting with people, not a product or service. When it comes to your music business, you’re not a product. You’re not a service. You’re a personal brand, okay? People are following you, a person. They’re not following an album.

When it comes to effective personal branding, there are three goals you want to achieve. Number one is brand awareness. Number two, brand engagement … I’ll explain these … and number three, brand marketing. Brand awareness is both making new people aware of your personal brand, as well as keeping you top of mind with those who already follow you. You ever had that where you post something and someone says, “Man, I haven’t heard from you in a week,” or, “I haven’t heard from you in months?” And you say, “Yeah, but I post every day.” Well, that’s the Facebook algorithm working against you, right? Okay. You want to keep your content out there so that those who are following you will have you at top of mind, but then you also want to make new people aware of your brand. And so all of this is brand awareness.

And number two, brand engagement, which is using the amplification of your brand. So as to create engagement with your existing audience, this is important guys, because not only does it get fans involved with you, but it also provides social media platforms with the data on those who engage with you so that you can target them later with your marketing, because if you provide engaging content that keeps people retaining you top of mind and gets their feedback and gets their likes and comments and shares, then the social media platforms like Facebook are going to keep track of that and so you’ll be able to target those specific people who’ve already engaged with your content much later.

And then third, brand marketing is when you’re pushing promotions, offers, and opt-ins in such a way that your audience actually enjoys them. Imagine that. See, typically, we think that people will be turned off by our advertising. This is common with creative people. They are afraid to advertise because they don’t want to turn people off or drive them away with advertising. But if the promotions … Now, listen closely … If those promotions are related to the overall brand and culture of your music, then your audience are more inclined to welcome those promotions.

For example, if you build an engaged list of followers, right, and they hear some of your music on a Facebook live video … Say you go live on Facebook and you play some music … they’re going to ask, “Do you have an album? If not, you should. Your music’s great,” right? That’s what they’re going to say. Or if they see one of your song titles or you post one of your lyrics by itself, they might write back and say, “Man, that should be on a tee shirt. I’d wear it. I’d buy it,” right? They respond to you. They respond to you by saying, “You should have products. You should have music. You should have merchandise.”

In other words, they’re saying your brand should be marketing. It should be marketing corresponding products, the kind of products that they’ll consume. They’ll consume music. They’ll consume apparel. They’re saying your brand should be marketing corresponding products, because they’re not going to tell you, “Hey man, do you have an album?” They’re not going to ask you if you have an album and then get all bent out of shape when you post an ad for your music, okay?

15:38 CJ: Marketing, brand marketing is when the promotions and all of that is promoting in accordance with that brand or culture. This is why I’ll often tell our elite students to get really creative when it comes to the type of products they sell. Instead of just putting your album art on a tee shirt, put an inspirational lyric that you’ve written. You might find people buy that before they buy just your name or album cover on a shirt or a coffee mug or what have you.

Be creative, because people wear something, when they wear something that says something, even if it’s a band tee shirt, they’re trying to communicate something about themselves, that, “This is the kind of person I am.” For example, I’m a heavy metal guy, so if I walk around with a Metallica or Iron Maiden tee shirt on, I’m not trying to say Iron Maiden necessarily. I’m saying, “I’m a metal head.” I’m saying, “I love metal.” That’s what I’m saying, right?

There’s a purpose behind why people wear what they wear. And so if you have some cool lyrics or a cool saying, something inspirational, or what have you, provoking, then that can be the perfect thing for some of your music merchandise.

Again, when it comes to branding, think of personal branding instead of corporate branding. In other words, think of being a personal brand instead of being Coca-Cola and try to think of your brand as an idea being driven into the minds of your fans instead of a logo, the look of your website, your album art, et cetera, because typically when we say branding, people think of something seen, like you think of cereal brands in the grocery aisle, right? Soup cans in the grocery aisle. You think of that. It’s visual. No, it’s the idea that is the brand. That is the part you cannot erase, hence the word branding. Logos, packaging, websites are manifestations of the brand idea, but they are not the brand itself.

And remember that branding is something that’s happening, whether you like it or not. Your objective should be to think through brand first and do your best to control the way you’re understood. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be vulnerable or open about things, okay? In other words, I have to guard my brand and protect it so I can’t show any weakness. I can’t show my personal life. It’s got to be, everything is about this controlled brand. That’s not what I mean. Quite the opposite. Being authentic as a person is just as important as the idea you represent to your fans as an artist. Again, this is personal branding on social media and social media means broadcasting from person to person. You have to play the role of a person, okay? So it’s quite the opposite. Being authentic is just as important as the idea you represent to your fans as an artist.

Let’s go back to Leah as an example. Leah’s fans hold two seemingly opposed ideas in their heads when it comes to her. Number one, they see her as the archetype fantasy queen so often found in fantasy literature, film, and television, right? If you looked at her album covers, you see her dressed in this fantasy theme. It looks like you could be looking at a cover of Game of Thrones when you look at her album covers, right? She fits that mode. You could see her as a character in one of these stories. But then number two, the other idea, they see her as a wife and a mother living her real life because she posts about that. Again, these are opposing ideas. Which is it? Is she the archetype fantasy queen or is she the wife and mother living her life?

Well, that’s the brilliance of what she does, okay? Because even when she’s sharing her personal life, it’s still within the context and flavor of the cultural ideals that her and her fans share. For instance, a few years ago, if you’ve been following her, you’d know that her family was touring throughout places like England and Ireland. They were visiting castles and all kinds of stuff and she shared that stuff with her kids out there and walking through and experiencing all of this. Well, that fits in with her musical brand, right? Her fans would love to be there too. They would love to tour those places. And so here’s Leah blending all of that, so she’s still embodying or personifying her brand. She’s like a modern day mythological archetypal fantasy queen. And now she’s expanded that into a sister brand called Mythology Candles. But even that is still consistent with the idea she embodies as a person and as an artist.

20:49 CJ: How do you get started on your personal brand? First, understand that it’s not something you make up and just put on like a costume. Your personal brand is something that’s already inherent in you. It should be something that you can embody or represent. It has to be genuine. The difference is that even though you already embody this idea, your social media marketing is about dramatizing and amplifying that idea to a large audience through the internet, okay? Again, the brand has to be something that’s already in you. It can’t be disingenuous. It’s not just a costume you’re putting on. This has to be something that you literally embody as a person. This idea must be living and breathing through you.

Another example, I have my own personal brand and it’s a motivational project that I’ve done for about 11 years. Its target audience is people who love heavy metal and motivational content, okay? My target audience is people who love heavy metal and also love motivational content. They read motivational books. They listen to motivational speakers. They read motivational stuff, but they also are diehard fans of heavy metal.

Why that particular niche? Why did I target that? Well, because I’ve always been a diehard fan of heavy metal and I’ve always done motivational speaking and coaching. The project I do is called Metal Motivation. So it’s authentic for me to do it. Now, I don’t go on there and sound like a wrestler or put on a show or something like that. I’m talking no different to them than I’m talking to you right here and right now. It’s just that I’m a metal head who happens to be a motivational speaker.

The simple idea is CJ is like Tony Robbins meets Metallica. Simple, right? That’s the idea behind the personal brand, but it’s still authentic to me. I didn’t just say, “Oh, I should do metal motivation, so let me start listening to heavy metal so I don’t sound like I don’t know what I’m talking about.” No, I’ve always listened to heavy metal. Heavy metal has been the soundtrack of my life. I find heavy metal to be motivating. It was natural. It’s an idea that fits, that works on social media, and that is genuine to me.

Now, even though I say CJ is like Tony Robbins meets Metallica, it’s an easy way to explain it, but the point is not the tagline, okay? It’s the idea behind the tagline that’s important. I should be able to market that personal brand effectively even without the tagline. I say that because students will often get fixated on taglines and logos and things like that and they think that that’s the key so they have to come up with something like that. They have to say they are blank meets blank. No. I rarely, if ever, ever post my tagline. All they have to do is show me Metal Motivation, Metal Motivation content, targeted to the right audience and that’s all. But that is branding because I’m amplifying and dramatizing the central idea. I’m driving a highly differentiated idea into my target audience’s heads, okay?

It is not the key to find a tagline. It’s to find a brand, a differentiated idea. The tagline is used just like logos or packaging. It’s just another way to amplify the idea-driven personal brand. On social media with branding your music, you are not a corporate brand. You are not branding like Coca-Cola or Nike. You are a personal brand. That’s what you are. You’re branding yourself or yourself as a representative of your band and so all of your content is about dramatizing and amplifying that central idea behind what makes you unique, all of the cultural aspects, and again, social media gives you so many ways to dramatize those ideas by the content that you post, and this is where you can be as creative as you want.

As you learn your audience, see what they respond to, give them more of the same so that you can continue to grow, keep a highly engaged audience, building that brand awareness, right, building that brand engagement, building that brand marketing. This is the power of personal branding for your music business. Can you dig that? Hope you can.

25:39 CJ: Listen, thank you so much for joining me as always on the Savvy Musician Show. I love this podcast. I would love if you would help me spread the word. Share this content on your social media platforms. If you can, please right after this podcast, go and leave a review on whatever podcast player you’re listening on, Spotify, iTunes, Stitcher, et cetera. If they say offer to give stars, give us as many stars as you can. This is going to help other people discover this podcast as well as build us up, encourage us because we read the things that you write.

If you’d like to go further with us at the Savvy Musician Academy, right now, TOM 3.0, The Online Musician version 3.0 is available. Go to theonlinemusician.com and check that out today. And also if you are looking for something even more, then visit us again at savvymusicianacademy.com, where there’s tons of content there, previous episodes of this podcast. Get yourself informed, learn more, and then join us in one of our courses. We would love to stand with you in creating your personal success. Take care.

Episode #107: Music Marketing Without Paid Advertising

Would you keep betting on a horse that never won a race? Seems ridiculous, but people keep throwing money at advertising for posts that never did well in the first place. In this episode, C.J. sums it up perfectly when he says, “If it doesn’t work organically without paid traffic, it’s not going to work with paid traffic.”

It works or doesn’t work because of how well you know your audience. C.J. explains that you need to be focusing on understanding your audience, what they respond to, what inspires them, what they will click and share and what will expand your reach. This concept is so simple it is overlooked and yet so important it needs your complete attention. Check out this week’s episode so that you don’t overlook what you should be doing everyday. 

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Being the bright side
  • Getting past looking for secrets and hacks
  • Connecting with your audience
  • This is a longterm business model
  • Focusing on organic reach
  • Multiplying what already works
  • Researching friends for superfan information
  • Putting in the work everyday


“The whole world is learning the hard way that they should have been building an online music business.” – @metalmotivation [0:00:48]

“I almost never see questions about the very thing that creates sales… ‘How can I better connect with my audience?’” – @metalmotivation [0:06:11]

“Being an online musician is a longterm business model.” – @metalmotivation [0:07:08]

“If it doesn’t work organically without paid traffic, it’s not going to work with paid traffic.” – @metalmotivation [0:11:18]

“The person who’s totally abandoned to their audience is the person who’s going to learn their audience, and the person who learns their audience is going to be the person who sells. That’s going to be the person who succeeds.” – @metalmotivation [0:19:49]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Amy Vanessa Dullum Facebook Page — https://www.facebook.com/amygoloby/

The Online Musician 3.0 — https://explodeyourfanbase.com

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

The Inner Circle — https:savvymusicianacademy.com/innercircle

Click For Full Transcript

00:21 CJ: Welcome to the Savvy Musician Show. This is CJ Ortiz. I’m the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. Thank you once again for joining me on this awesome music marketing podcast. I hope it’s making a difference in your life and in your music business. This is a great way to educate. A great way to share important information to further equip you to move the needle forward in your online music business.

That’s right, online music business. The whole world is learning the hard way that they should have been building an online music business. It’s sad to see so many venues and bars and entertainers shut down by the lockdown, but this is your opportunity to make a change. This is your opportunity to pivot in your life. Don’t sit there and be discouraged. Don’t sit there and cry about it. Don’t sit there and worry about it. Don’t be anxious. It’s better to take action than it is to sit, worry, and wonder.

There are so many things that you can do, and you may be envisioning a negative future for yourself, a negative future for the world. If your mind is so soaked in news headlines, or what’s going on in your Facebook newsfeed. Yeah, you might be a little discouraged about the future. But you don’t have to be. You know why? Because you are the bright side to your circumstances. Look in the mirror, because that is how you look on the bright side. You are the good news in your situation. Because, with determination, with effort, with work, you can create something out of nothing.

You can do what Leah did. You can do what so many other of our students have done, create an online music business from your own home. You can do it. That’s what this podcast is all about. If you’re enjoying this podcast, please do us a favor and leave a review and check off some stars on whatever podcast player you’re listening on. It helps other people to discover this podcast, and we read all of your comments and reviews, and it’s a huge encouragement to us.

Before we get started today, I want to share just a student spotlight by Amy Vanessa Dolan from our Elite course. She writes, “#win. I’ve been working hard behind the scenes and getting great feedback from the group, so I decided to stop and share some wins so far. I started with 2,500 Facebook page likes and ran like ads for a couple of weeks. I maintained a worldwide audience at one to 2 cents per like and a big four audience. I also included other buying countries at about 10 cents per like.

“I now have over 14,000 page likes and my post engagement is through the roof, up by 200%. It’s so weird to actually get comments and shares every time I post something. Yesterday, I started running my opt-in ad to the same big four audience. And so far, I’m getting 18 cents per conversion. I also made my first sale from my thank-you page. I’m selling my bundle offer for about $35-plus with shipping. So after paying shipping an ad cost, I made a profit of $20 in one day. Hopefully, I can keep making sales like this. It’s encouraging to see that the process is working.”

Exactly. We’re going to talk something about, even though you heard her talk about paid ads, we’re going to get into the fact that it’s not even about the paid advertising. It’s not even about the special techniques or software. I’m going to set you free from wondering how in the world Leah does it. How in the world these other people do it and why you can do it too without spending money on advertising. That’s what I’m talking to you about today, music marketing without spending money on ads. You’ll find out why Amy’s little program worked.

Now, this is one of the most important things about what Leah teaches at SMA that most people miss. I’m going to say that again. This is probably one of the most important things about what Leah teaches at SMA, the Savvy Musician Academy that most people miss. I find even our Elite students are missing this, it’s called the shiny object syndrome, shiny object syndrome. That’s when you’re distracted from what’s most important because you saw something you think new or innovative holds the answer to your problem. You think there’s got to be some special thing, some special hack.

And so, what’s the big problem for the online musician? Well, sales and the lack thereof. That’s the big problem for today’s online musician. Even again, our Elite students struggle with this very simple truth. They think there’s got to be a secret, and so they get distracted. The shiny object. It’s got to be this software. It’s got to be that hack. It’s got to be something secret. The big problem is sales. They say, “How does Leah sell so much and how come I don’t? There’s got to be an app. There’s got to be a hack. There’s got to be something she uses that I’m not using. Or maybe if I steal her ad copy, I’ll get better sales. I’ll just copy and paste and just replace her name with mine.”

05:36 CJ: I wonder what time of day she posts on social media. Ever thought about that? I get that question a lot. People want to know, when’s the best time to post on social media? Or maybe I don’t have the right number of emails going out. On and on and on. I can tell this is the case. How? Because of the majority of questions that are asked in all of our Facebook groups. Not just Elite, but our online musician groups, our free mastermind groups. It’s the same questions over and over. Questions about the shiny objects and not the right questions. I almost never see questions about the very thing that creates sales. I don’t see questions about that.

I have yet to have someone write in and post in our Facebook group, “How can I better connect with my audience?” I never see that. It’s always, “Settings on this piece of software.” Or, “What does Leah do about this?” Or something else? It’s never, “How can I better connect with my audience? How can I better understand my audience?” I never see that question. See, because people want to hack. They want something that breaks the code to sales, but they never find it, because it doesn’t exist in software. It doesn’t exist in some secret about some special thing that’s working now in social media that you can find your way around the algorithm. Hack the algorithm.

Remember, being an online musician is a longterm business model, not a short one. Being an online musician is a longterm business model, it is not a short one. For example, most people today that are making money through e-commerce are throwing up social media pages in Shopify stores in order to capitalize on trending issues, whether it’s politics or pet lovers. That’s how they do it. These entrepreneurs are all about the latest hacks and tricks, because they know the window of revenue for their products is so small. So whatever the trending story is, whatever is popular, they just create products or find manufacturers of these products that they can put up a short standing store for a while and a short standing Facebook page and just try to take advantage of that window of opportunity.

They’re not building a longterm business. These are short-term hacks. They brag about how much money they make, but they’re not going to be making money continually. These are short-term solutions. At SMA, we’re teaching a longterm approach to building a personal brand through the proven principles of branding, culture building and direct digital marketing. It’s longterm approach, not short term. We want your music business to be lasting for years, not months. That’s why the investment upfront has to be so significant. It’s also why Leah, for example, doesn’t teach on Facebook ads.

In her latest course, The Online Musician 3.0, or TOM 3.0 for short, she does not teach on Facebook ads. None. We do that in Elite, but she doesn’t teach it in TOM. TOM 3.0, the latest version that just released, doesn’t teach on Facebook ads. Is she trying to cheat you? Is this some kind of underhanded way, like the phone company, to get you to buy something more expensive? Absolutely not. This is the best thing she could do for you, is to leave out the ads. Because she wants you to understand one thing, if you can’t build an engaged following of super fans who buy your music and merchandise, then all the apps, all the tricks, all the hacks are not going to help you.

Okay? That’s because the purpose of her in-depth teaching on social media advertising, email marketing, are about scaling what’s already working organically. But people get blinded by the shiny object, so they think, “Oh, the secret is the Facebook ad manager. Oh, the secret is the Facebook Pixel, and I learned that in Elite, so let me get into Elite. What you find out is, Elite students who aren’t selling anything. Because it’s not for that. The Facebook Pixel is not your answer. The latest hack is not your answer. A special retargeting app is not your answer. They’re only there to enhance and scale and multiply and maximize what is already working organically.

10:15 CJ: You have to make social media digital marketing work organically before you start spending the money. It’s as simple as that. It’s so simple that gurus have to help you misunderstand it. So simple that gurus have to work overtime to help you and I misunderstand this. Again, I don’t see those questions in the Facebook groups about, how can I better connect with my audience? They think it’s a trick. They think it’s a hack. They think it’s somewhere found in the technology or their misuse of it. In other words, you got to create an engaged following who’s ready to buy your music, but you got to do it without pain advertising. That’s why she left it out of TOM 3.0.

If you do that, then paid ads can greatly increase your results and your profits. But if your posts or your emails aren’t working organically right now, then they’re not going to work if you put hundreds of dollars behind the advertising. It’s not going to work. If it doesn’t work organically without paid traffic, it’s not going to work with paid traffic. For example, boosted posts. That’s the most basic fundamental way you could do any kind of paid advertising on Facebook. A boosted post. People think, for example, that the smart thing to do is to boost a post to get more reach, when the really smart thing to do is to post regularly and organically without paid ads and whichever post performs well organically is the one you should boost.

See, people only think, “Okay, well, boost means I want it to get to more people.” That makes sense, but if you don’t know that that post is going to perform well, don’t spend money on it. But if it performs well organically, then whatever money you spend is going to multiply the results. You won’t just get double the amount, you’ll get multiplications of the amount of reach and engagement. If it’s already working organically, then money spend behind it is going to multiply the results. Why is that? Because that organic post is already proven. It’s already shown itself to work. That’s when you put money behind it.

What does all this tell us? Well, it tells us you got to find your ideal super fan. You’ve got to get them engaged through regular content. You got to understand what inspires them, what causes them to get engaged and respond and take action. You got to build a relationship with them where they know you, where they like you, where they trust you, where they share your content with other people. You have to keep this in mind with everything that you do online, whether social media or email. Isn’t that true? Why would you think that just spending money is the key? It’s not the key. Spending money with advertising just multiplies or scales the results you’re already getting organically.

So everyone that recently signed up for Leah’s TOM 3.0 course are set up for this very thing. Because again, she doesn’t cover the Facebook ads. She intentionally left out paid ads to save you a lot of time, a lot of money and a lot of frustration. Because people will think they’re just going to throw money at it. They think ads are the way out. They don’t get the results because they haven’t first done it organically. That just leads to frustration. They become an enemy to themselves. They start talking self-defeat and they talk themselves out of the music business. They just think it just wasn’t meant for them, when it’s just because they’re doing it wrong.

That’s why she covers, for example, in TOM 3.0, mindset stuff, goal setting. You got to have plans. You got to have goals. You got to have things mapped out. You got to be prepared to win mentally. You got to know your micro niche. You got to create culture. You got to understand branding, build your website, build your audience, learn how to monetize your music, stuff like that. She covers all of that in TOM 3.0, but none of that is based on Facebook ads. Because ads only expand and scale what’s already done.

Now, again, I said, even our Elite students are struggling with this. So music marketing without paid ads is something very organic and very natural. You should be able to figure out who your ideal superfan is. What are they like? What music do they like? Obviously, things similar to your genre of music. What other artists are comparable? What do they follow? What are other pages that they follow? Think about the culture that surrounds your music. Is there a particular magazine that your culture reads? A TV show or a movie that they watch? A book that they read? Certain things that they’ll follow or do? Hobbies, interests?

15:26 CJ: All of these things are going to help you to target your ideal superfan. Maybe you have friends on your own Facebook profile right now that you could say, maybe you go through your friend list right now and think of three or four people that you could say are your ideal superfan. They’d be a great example. Well, go look through their stuff. See what they’re talking about. Find out more about how they think, what they’re interested in. Look through their page and you can find out what they follow, what they like. You might be inspired to consider targeting things you’ve never considered before. Things to talk about in your posts that you’ve never talked about before. Then figure out how to write some copy. Figure out when to promote. Figure out what your fans are interested in and how you can get them to convert. How you can get them to support you, et cetera, et cetera.

You got to know culture. You got to know your branding. You got to know your website, your audience, all of these sorts of things. Well, that’s what SMA teaches. That’s what you’ll always hear on this podcast or what Leah will teach, for example, in TOM 3.0. These are great ways for you to get started. The thing is, is that I don’t want you to be distracted by the shiny object syndrome. I don’t want you to think it’s something special. It’s not something special. It’s not a secret. It’s not a secret. If you can get what you’re doing to work organically, and I’m talking to everybody, not just people who are just listening to this podcast that have never taken a course at SMA. I’m talking to our TOM students. I’m talking to our Elite students as well. You have to get things working organically. You have to do it without paid advertising.

If you can do that, if you can learn, then selling becomes so much easier. All I want you to learn how to do is to sell. All I want you to learn how to do is how to create an engaged audience, is to get people to follow you, get them to know, like and trust you. I know my audience. What I do with my projects, I know my audience. I know the words they use to respond to. I know the kind of offers that they like. I know the topics they want to hear about. I know what to say to them. I know what to show them. Leah knows her audience. She knows what they want. She knows what they want to hear about. She knows what they want to see. She knows how to create engagement, and that’s the key.

That’s why you can never seem to find the hack. That’s also why it’s easy for marketing gurus to take your money from you, because they’re showing you and telling you that it’s a hack. That it’s a secret, and if you can only get behind their pay wall, their subscription, the cost of their course, then you’ll discover the secrets. There’s no secrets. There are no secrets. Sure, we use that term sometimes in our marketing copy, but there really is no … It’s only a secret because you don’t know it. But what I mean is that there’s no special hack. No. What we’re talking about is common knowledge. Like I said, I don’t ever get that question in the Facebook groups, “How can I better engage with my audience?”

No. People are thinking about everything but that. They’re going over and over their Shopify store, over and over their website, over and over how to set up this email feature or that thing. It’s always something like that. Now, I’m not saying those things aren’t important. Obviously, they’re what we use to scale what’s already working organically. So they are important, and we want you to figure that out, but I know that the people who are asking about those things aren’t getting anything working organically right now.

I’d rather have the person that is totally abandoned, I mean, 110% abandoned to their audience, their brand, their culture, creating content, getting those people engaged. I’d rather have that person going crazy with that and not having a clue how to set up a website, than the person who knows all the technical stuff, and yet can’t get a single person engaged. Can’t get any reach with their posts. Can’t get anybody to sign up for an email list. Can’t get anybody to buy a tee shirt. Because the person who’s totally abandoned to their audience is the person who’s going to learn their audience, and the person who learns their audience is going to be the person who sells. That’s going to be the person who succeeds.

20:01 CJ: The rest of it is easy. All the email marketing and software. Yeah, it’s challenging. It’s a lot to learn. It takes time, but that’s the easy part. Believe me, it’s the easy part. Learning your audience, learning a bunch of individual human beings, that’s where the challenge is. But that’s also where the profits are. That’s where the money is for your music business. That’s where it’s found. I want you to show up and don’t come back to me. The question everybody comes back to me, “Hey CJ, how much do I have to post? It seemed like I got to spend a lot of time on social media. I have to comment and answer all these people.” If you say that, you are not cut out for this. Because what you’re looking for is the shade and the wage, the most amount of pay for the least amount of work.

No. When you’re building, it’s going to take everything that you’ve got. So yeah, showing up every day on social media. Showing up regularly with your emails. Answering people, answering inbox messages, creating a relationship, researching. Looking at what people are saying, taking notes. Learning more about your culture, studying your audience, studying your competition. Learning more and more and more about what’s working online. All of this can be done without spending a single penny on paid advertising, and it is the one thing that’s going to guarantee that your ads will work in the future. Because you’re going to know what to say down the road when it comes to writing your own ads. You’re going to know exactly what to do, because you’ve already proven it.

Invest yourself in the fundamentals of online marketing, especially as Leah teaches, for example, in TOM 3.0. Invest yourself in that. Get to know your micro niche, get your mindset right. Set some goals, learn to create the culture around your music. Learn about brand and get your website built. Build your audience up. Learn the keys to monetizing your music. Learn these sorts of things, and you can do all of that without paid advertising. Man, that’s exciting. You should be tearing up your ceiling right now. You should be writing me an email right now telling me, “CJ, I love you for setting me free from thinking that there’s always a secret that I’ve got to discover.”

No. The power is in your hands right now to learn your audience, to find out what works, to show up every day, to build the culture and lifestyle around your music and create your little online music empire and make a full-time income doing it and never have to leave your home if you don’t want to. I mean, for some people, it’s too good to be true. They say, “CJ, that’s just too good to be true.” I talked to some other musicians. They said, “That’s too good to be true.” No, it’s not too good to be true because other people are doing it. We see it all the time at the Savvy Musician Academy, and nobody set a better example of doing this than Leah has.

Get started today. Don’t put off your music business anymore. You can start doing these things right away. If you’re in our Elite program, then get back to the basics. If you’re in TOM right now learning things, you’re going to learn so much, but please use this message today, this episode today, as the way you’re going to keep yourself focused and encouraged during the time you go through TOM 3.0. If you’re not a part of TOM 3.0 or of any of our other courses, then you should check it out. You should check it out. Go to theonlinemusician.com right now, theonlinemusician.com, learn more about TOM 3.0. It’s packed. I only mentioned a few things. That thing is packed with content that you can use and you don’t have to spend any money on advertising.

Also recently launched, is our Inner Circle program. I’d love to have you join me there, savvymusicianacademy.com/innercircle. I’ll finish out the podcast with that, but thank you so much again for being with me. Please, once again, leave a review. Check off some stars, help other people discover this music marketing podcast. It’s always a pleasure to be with you. Good things in store. Good things on the way. Stay happy. Keep smiling. Keep your head up. Stay motivated. Stay aggressive, healthy aggression. Resist what is resisting you. Don’t let anything stand in your way. Give yourself for yourself. That is the meaning of sacrifice. Give something of value to get something back of greater value. So give yourself for yourself. Pay the price, make the sacrifice. Your life and music business are worth it. No one can do it but you, but we’re here to help you to walk arm in arm. We are committed to your success. We’ll see you soon.

25:09 CJ: The entire music industry just changed overnight. Suddenly, every band and musician has had their live gigs canceled indefinitely. No one knows when live events are coming back. When they do, the competition will surely be fierce. Artists are realizing they have to pivot quickly if they want to earn an income with their music. Musicians are now scrambling to figure out how to sell their music online. They need answers and they need them now. If this is you, then discover our new Savvy Musician Inner Circle membership. It’s a private subscription-based coaching group to help you launch and market your online music business fast.

For one low monthly subscription, you’ll get live weekly marketing instruction plus tips, tools, news updates, and your questions answered. It all takes place in a private Facebook group that I, CJ Ortiz, will be hosting and I’d love to help you build your online music business. To learn more, go right now to savvymusicianacademy.com/innercircle.

Episode #106: Starting Over: A Coaching Session with an Artist Who Once Sold Millions of Records

Imagine selling millions of records only to end up starting from scratch in an entirely new music industry. This is the story of J.R. Richards and our SMA student guest joining C.J. this week. J.R. was the vocalist for the 90s band Dishwalla, which had two Gold and Platinum albums, and also won Billboard Music and ASCAP Awards. 

Now as a solo artist with a mainstream sound, C.J and J.R. tackle how to find his audience through other ways than sub-genre targeting. If your music is more mainstream and you are trying to find your audience, this is the episode for you!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Introduction to J.R. Richards
  • Finding old fans vs. making new fans
  • What is your personal brand?
  • Finding your audience as a mainstream artist
  • Focus through resolve
  • Having an ultimate objective
  • Expanding and targeting key audience demographics
  • Culture-based niche marketing
  • Writing emotionally focused copy
  • The almighty play button
  • Juxtaposition to find new ideas


“It’s one thing to understand everything theoretically, it’s another thing to apply to your own music business, and connect with your fans, and figure out how that monetization needs to work for you.” – @metalmotivation [0:10:10]

“I love the idea of being resolved because resolved means there’s no second-guessing, and I don’t want to see someone second guess themselves when they need to be marketing.” – @metalmotivation [0:18:43]

“I really don’t care what your logo looks like because for all intents and purposes, the only logo that people are seeing is a profile pic and a blue name.” – @metalmotivation [0:46:11]

“I’m actually excited about going back through the program again just because it’s a lot, and you have to kind of mature with it in order to fully appreciate what’s going on. It’s like reading a book twice that you really enjoy. You’re going to get a lot out of it the second time around.” – @JRRICHARDS [0:54:28]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

J. R. Richards Facebook Page — https://www.facebook.com/JRRICHARDSMUSIC/

The Online Musician 3.0 — https://explodeyourfanbase.com

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

The Inner Circle — https:savvymusicianacademy.com/innercircle

Click For Full Transcript

00:21 CJ: All right. You and I have never spoken before, correct?

00:25 JR: No.

00:25 CJ: Okay.

00:25 JR: This would be the first.

00:27 CJ: I heard some of the music. Wow.

00:30 JR: Awesome.

00:30 CJ: Oh, man. You are one incredible vocalist.

00:37 JR: Thanks. I appreciate that.

00:39 CJ: I see how you barely got in this group. And what are you doing in the UK with that American accent?

00:51 JR: Oh, well my wife is British, and my wife, she’s a film director.

00:57 CJ: Oh, good.

00:58 JR: And we were living in California, that’s where we met for quite a long time, and we have four boys that are either some of them are dual citizens, some are just British, one is just American. It’s kind of weird. It depends on where they were born. And one of them is special needs. Highly special needs.

01:22 CJ: Oh, okay.

01:23 JR: So we were caring for them in the States, and it was okay for a while, but then it just became so expensive. We decided to move here just because healthcare is free.

01:35 CJ: Ah.

01:37 JR: And it’s excellent. Just to give you an example, even with health insurance, we have been at a hospital for a couple of months and we were paying … We figured out we paid about $2,000 a day above what we were paying in insurance. So we were like, “There’s no way that we can maintain this.”

01:56 CJ: Amazing.

01:59 JR: Hence the move.

02:01 CJ: Yeah. Wow.

02:02 JR: Yeah.

02:03 CJ: Well, shoot. Bless you, guys. Man, I know that’s a lot to carry, but hey, if you’re not going to be in the States, UK or Australia I guess would be the place to be.

02:17 JR: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, indeed. So yeah. It’s not a bad place. We live in a little village in Oxfordshire, and the house is … It was the old dairy house for the big manor house that’s on the village property. If you think like Downton Abbey, that kind of thing.

02:34 CJ: Right.

02:35 JR: In fact, that’s our address. There’s no street name and no number. It’s just dairy house.

02:41 CJ: That’s hilarious, man.

02:43 JR: Yeah. It’s crazy.

02:44 CJ: Yeah. So you’re a long way from the US suburbs?

02:48 JR: Yes. Yes, I am. I am. Quite a ways away. So we’re about 45 minutes, 50 minutes from London, but yeah.

02:57 CJ: Well, good. All right. Well, tell me a little bit … Obviously, again you’re an accomplished vocalist and all of that, very experienced in the music business, and as you know, the music industry has changed dramatically. So give me just a little bit of brief history about your particular music career, what’s brought you to this place in terms of working with Leah, and when did she first appear on your radar, et cetera?

03:22 JR: Yes. Absolutely. Yeah. Well, I’ve been singing and writing songs forever, so I was in a band, an American brand, that got signed back, and this is a while now. ’93 to A&M Records, and our first album, we had a number one hit and sold a couple of million albums. We went on to make a second one, it did pretty well, and then got stuck in the big Universal PolyGram merger.

03:53 CJ: Right.

03:53 JR: And we were put on Interscope Records, but they didn’t have any … They just didn’t have the staff to work what we were doing, and we weren’t initially there, so that created problems. So we begged to get out of that deal, and then signed with another independent label in the early 2000s, and put out a record that did pretty well, and did a couple of more albums after that. Then around 2005, a couple of guys in the band had left, and I think I was pretty much done at that point too, and just wanted to be … It’s time to be dad more than being on the road all the time and just had to do the solo thing.

But I have to be quite honest. I left music for a little bit, and then slowly crept back towards it around 2008, 2009, and put out my first solo album in 2009, and I’ve done four solo albums now.

04:50 CJ: Okay.

04:50 JR: So-

04:51 CJ: Since 2009?

04:52 JR: Since 2009. Yeah. So, I’ve been busy musically, but I did take a break there. But back in the day when we were signed to A&M, it was all go, man. You’re either writing an album, you’re recording an album, or you’re on tour, and there really was no break because I was writing all the songs for the band. Anyway, so it was pretty crazy, and then during this time where I’m trying to figure out, “Okay. I’m trying to figure out how to reinvent myself.” I come from a very old school environment in terms of how the music industry operates. It’s completely damaged, I’m catching the tailspin so to speak as it’s about to hit the ground and watched it the ground, and wasn’t part of that, and then watched a lot of friends that were very talented just give up, and I’ve been pushing hard to try to stay doing this. It’s one of the few things I know how to do well, then I started seeing Leah show up around … Gosh, it must’ve been around 2014 maybe.

It was really early on, and I think what caught my ear was her understanding of what the industry was, and how it was changing just because I have so many friends that are still in it, and so many friends that have left, and have been involved in all aspect of it too from the major label side of it to be a complete, total independent artist, and watching distribution and everything change. So, I was really actually quite impressed at this person who’s never been … She was never on a label or big part of some group that is managing to pull this off on her own, and I was like … So, I paid attention to it. I said, “I’ve got to take a look at what she has to say.”

It might have been like Tom. Certainly it was Tom 2.0, and yeah. Then went from that to the leap thing, and what you guys offer there, the deciding thing blows my mind because for somebody like me who’s having to reinvent himself, I’ve sold millions of albums, but it’s not like I can go out and do that now. I don’t have that who environment that created that. It just doesn’t exist anymore. So, I can still sing, and I can still write songs. I’m just trying to figure out how to fit. But I don’t need to sell a million albums to still owe money to a label. I’d be happy to sell 50,000 and actually be comfortable.

07:24 CJ: You’d sell 50,000 and make more than the person who’s in a band selling 5 million albums?

07:30 JR: Oh yeah. Easily. Easily. God, if I had sold 100,000 album, I would be a freaking millionaire. Ridiculous. So much less effort because to go out and support that amount of people buying your albums, and all the things that you have to do in order to keep everybody happy, and all the commitments that are involved with that, it’s a 24 hour, seven day a week job, which I just can’t do anymore. But you don’t have to these days. It’s really interesting to see how things change. It’s going to go further, the direction that Leah has been spearheading. So [crosstalk 00:08:13]. What’s that?

08:14 CJ: Whether everybody likes it or not?

08:16 JR: Yes. I know, and I know a lot of people who don’t like it, and I know a lot of people that ignore it, and a lot of people that just don’t believe it even though it’s happening.

08:26 CJ: Yeah, because the whole industry has shut down. Even down to your local pub. So even if you’re just an acoustic player looking to pick up … You might not even be able to go into the tunnels and the subways-

08:40 JR: Yeah.

08:40 CJ: … and put a hat out these days.

08:44 JR: Yeah. You’re absolutely right. I was supposed to be on tour in the Philippines, and all of Southeast Asia, Australia, US. I had to cancel everything, and that was a pain. So then it was even more if I’m like, “All right. How am I going to get myself financially through this time?” So, I’ve been digging deeper into what the lead course has taught me, which is amazing. You can go so deep with it. So, I have a long ways to go.

09:20 CJ: And I think everybody, your first obviously taken aback by Leah’s story, and of course, in your case with a truckload of kids, it’s good to see someone else with a truckload of kids who is managing that as well, doing it without touring, which was her choice at the time, the choice of everybody now, not even Madonna can tour. So everybody is essentially on lockdown. But then you do get into the deeper parts of the information and people think, “Oh well, the secrets must lie beyond the paywall.” So in this elite program, I’ll figure out the apps, and the tricks, and the techniques of how Leah truly does this, and then I’ve seen dozens of people go through elite, and they’re no different than when they were before Tom 2.0.

10:10 JR: Right.

10:10 CJ: Because it’s one thing to understand everything theoretically, it’s another thing to apply to your own music business, and connect with your fans, and figure out how that monetization needs to work for you and all of that. So, I think that’s where a lot of people get obviously challenged, and so it’s not just, “Hey, if I pay enough money for a course, the more expensive it is, the more I’m guaranteed that I’m going to be successful.” No. I’m not any more than someone who goes to Berkeley is guaranteed anything. You can go to Harvard Medical School. That doesn’t mean you’re going to be a great doctor or get hired as a doctor at all. You could be working at a department store.

There’s a PhD glut, there’s an MD glut out there of people who are not doing what they need to be doing. So, I think that’s what brings people to these types of one on one sessions where we can look at somebody’s stuff and see where the challenges are. Maybe where they want to go, maybe they were in the reinventing process, personal branding. So where are you at right now?

11:12 JR: That’s a good question. Well, I think a lot of it is I’m kind of at a place where I’m trying to … Well, I guess I’m trying to do two things. I’m trying to reconnect with people that had brought albums of mine before in the past, just to let them know that I’m still here, and I’m still making music, if they’re interested. Then there’s this whole idea of actually going out and finding new people, even though I’m not being played on the radio, and those kinds of things don’t happen anymore, and this idea that you can go and find your audience do social media. It’s pretty amazing.

So those are really the two things. I don’t know who much time I should spend trying to find old fans. Should I focus more on trying to find new people, and therefore, find the old people too?

12:09 CJ: Right. Well, what’s your thinking, the logic behind why you’d want to reconnect with old fans? Not that it’s bad. I don’t have an opinion now, but what’s your motive or reason?

12:19 JR: I guess is just because I already have a relationship with them to some degree. I don’t know. Certainly back in the day when you’re selling albums, it was very one way. So nowadays, somebody buys an album and I give them a personal thank you. That’s before that connection ever happens. I guess I was thinking initially, that’s a good way. It’s the low hanging fruit. Those people have already vested themselves into something you’ve done.

12:45 CJ: Right.

12:45 JR: But I don’t know.

12:47 CJ: Yeah. When you say old fans, we’re talking about 1993 kind of old fans?

12:52 JR: Well, if we’re selling them, it’s probably at ’95, but yeah. From ’95 to 2005.

12:58 CJ: Right, right. Yeah. So if we take out the idea of old fans, and we say, “Okay. Well, what’s the desired outcome?” Because old fans are a means to an end, not the end itself.

13:11 JR: Right.

13:12 CJ: You’re not trying to see where they’ve been, and how are things with the kids. You’re trying to get to a warmer market is what you’re after?

13:21 JR: Yeah.

13:22 CJ: So in other words, if we can create the warm market just as fast, or easier, or cheaper, then reconnecting old fans with a new audience, then hey, who cares who it is.

13:33 JR: Right. Exactly. That makes sense. Yeah.

13:35 CJ: So we can’t put character in the cash register. That’s going to be our starting point.

13:38 JR: Right, right.

13:41 CJ: So what we want is a warmer marketing because we feel like a warmer market is going to be more apt to purchase music, right?

13:50 JR: Sure. Yeah.

13:52 CJ: Okay. Yeah. So in that regard, we can start with any aspect of what Leah teaches and take that approach. I think the easiest approach is to go after whoever is the easiest to go after. I’m not sure how exactly you would track down the old fans so to speak outside if there’s a … Are there Facebook pages or anything from your band that are still around?

14:17 JR: Well, that’s the thing. Well, they used to label it when you would choose your targeting because I was in this band called Dishwalla. You can target people who liked Dishwalla. But I think the last year when Facebook went in and thinned out a lot of those likes, or genres, or names of different things if you’re below a certain threshold, they took you out of the searching engine.

14:44 CJ: Yeah. There may be some hunt there. You can always, for grins and giggles, kick around some promotions and just see if there’s any life out there, but the new audience is ready and waiting, so we can go essentially after them. Where do you feel like you are now with your personal brand? What is J.R. Richards about?

15:10 JR: Yeah. That’s another good question. I’m trying to identify that. I do feel like I’m one of those artists that doesn’t have … Because I’m very pop-rock kind of thing. I’m very down the middle of the road. So, I think because I’m in the middle, it’s harder to know how to target people in more of a niche style because I’m not really a sub-genre of anything as much as I…

15:38 CJ: Right. I’m actually glad you said that because I’ve coached now, in this sort of setting, about 40 plus elite students over the past year and a half. It wasn’t intentional. We just did the branding bootcamp thing, and then we made the offer for people to schedule the one on ones. I didn’t think anybody was going to do it to be honest with you, and they came out of the woodwork.

16:04 JR: That’s true.

16:05 CJ: So, I’ve touched basically every genre that you can think of, and some you can’t think of because people have thought up some really, really wild and crazy stuff when it comes to music. So, I’ve had myself stretched as a branding guy. But one of the great things coming out of it is all of the guys and gals that were, as you described, middle of the road. Mainstream. And I really, really have learned to appreciate that because I think a lot of the artists get stuck because Leah’s music style and things was so genre-specific, the micro-niche makes perfect sense. The science works on paper with her, harder once you move it over to, like you said, a more pop-rock kind of thing where it’s radio-friendly. So you’re touching all kinds of people.

So, I’m into heavy metal, so it’s really easy to target all the cultural interests, and behaviors, and all this kinds of stuff.

17:09 JR: Right, right.

17:10 CJ: Because there’s magazines for that. Well, what’s the magazine for pop? I don’t know. It could be any magazine for all we know.

17:18 JR: Yeah, right. 

17:20 CJ: It could be SpongeBob SquarePants for all we know, right?

17:22 JR: Yes, yes.

17:24 CJ: But the one thing that I appreciate about that is that it’s a good thing because that means we don’t have to think about it. I don’t like us thinking about things that stop us because I’ve seen so many get stuck, because they can’t figure out that micro-niche. So, I literally saw a few people over this past year post how they were stuck for months, man. For months on that. So because they’re stuck, they’re questioning themselves. So if you’re questioning yourself, you’re not resolved. And if you’re not resolved, you’re not abandoned into what you should be doing, completely devoted with no holding back. You know what it’s like to be completely abandoned to writing or something, recording. You’re just abandoned.

There’s no, “I wonder if recording is going to feel good today.” No. You just know what you got to do, you’re ready to do it, you know what I mean? Whatever many takes it takes. If it doesn’t work on the 14th take, do you get all upset, and broken hearted, and go have your wife wipe your sweaty brow, and comfort you? No. You understand that the failure was, “I need three more takes. We’re going to get this.” So there’s no questioning. You’re completely abandoned. That’s why I love the idea of being resolved because resolved means there’s no second guessing, and I don’t want to see someone second guess themselves when they need to be marketing, which is a new thing for people to have to do.

18:58 JR: Right, right. Yeah.

19:00 CJ: You’re an artist. You don’t want to be perceived as sales-y and all of these other things, but you can be that way if you’re completely resolved. And when someone is in a genre that’s middle of the road, radio-friendly, then we’re not going to be thinking too much about genre. We’re going to be thinking about something else. So that’s when we step back and we ask the question, “Okay. J.R., what’s the great outcome that you want as an artist?” Because obviously people have to listen to you. You’re not making art for art sake. It’s commercial. It’s to be enjoyed by people in a particular medium whether it’s Spotify, CD, vinyl, whatever.

So you want people to experience the music. So what’s the ultimate outcome? What is it that you want people to get from what you make?

19:57 JR: Well, yeah. I wanted to have to enjoy it. To be an escape, because that’s what it is for me. I enjoyed it, it’s an escape for me, and it’s what music is to me whether I’m listening to it or somebody else is, or doing it.

20:12 CJ: So when you say escape, obviously you’re not writing ambient music. So we’re not talking about people literally in Pink Floyd, acid trip, going off to another place. So these are like mini-escapes?

20:31 JR: Yeah, yeah. I guess it would be, yeah. Actually, it’s funny. I think a lot of the music that I write is rather melancholy, even though I’m not a melancholic person.

20:37 CJ: Right.

20:38 JR: But yeah. Literally such.

20:42 CJ: Well, do me a favor, because that’s very interesting. Develop that for me. Why do you write so much melancholic music?

20:51 JR: That’s a good question. Obviously, it has to do with how I’m a sensitive person, and I think about things a lot. It’s interesting. I think I connect with a lot of … Reside primarily in a male audience, which I think would be the other way around when you make … Have sensitive lyrics, and I get a lot of rock dudes that are like, “Oh, man. Father’s passed away, bro.” And that was amazing.

21:14 CJ: Wow.

21:19 JR: Because it is funny how we see ourselves. It’s not typically how people see us, and there can be quite a variety of the way people see us too especially with ours, because I’ve been exploring that since working with The Savvy Academy. I figure out myself and my music. So, I never had to think about it before. There was always somebody at the department.

21:38 CJ: Sure. Yeah, the mark-

21:44 JR: It’s weird for me.

21:44 CJ: The marketing department.

21:44 JR: Oh, yeah.

21:47 CJ: You’re it now. Okay. So again, I’m not through with this melancholy thing because it’s very, very interesting to me. So you describe yourself as sensitive. Now by that, we’re not talking about weakness or anything like that. No.

22:03 JR: No. Not at all.

22:03 CJ: So you like to think about things. So why is being sensitive and/or thinking about things good? Tell me why you do that. What’s important about that? Should someone else do that?

22:16 JR: Absolutely. I think it’s important to think about emotions and those kinds of things that make us feel sad and feel happy, what makes us a better person to understand themselves better. So, I think a lot of my lyrics, subject matter is about those kinds of conversation I have with myself that obviously … I’m not doing anything, I’m not thinking anything special or different or unique. It’s the same kinds of things that everybody thinks about.

22:44 CJ: Right. Okay. So if every day you woke up, and countless people, because of what you were producing, and I want to say producing in a general sense, not just music, but everything related to J.R. Whatever he says, whatever picture he shows, whatever live video he does, whatever event he does, whatever he records. If you woke up every day, and more and more people were becoming more thoughtful about their lives, being more self-aware, growing, et cetera, would you be happy with that?

23:31 JR: Absolutely.

23:32 CJ: So that would be a close-ended objective?

23:36 JR: Yes. Yes, it would.

23:38 CJ: Right?

23:38 JR: Yeah.

23:39 CJ: Okay. So would you then say that if that is a close-ended thing, then we have an end to reach?

23:50 JR: Yeah. Absolutely. There’s a goal in mind. Definitely.

23:52 CJ: Right. Okay. So that is not recorded music at that stage. Once a life is changed, a connection is made with J.R., and a follower, a fan, a super fan, and that person is becoming these things, with the aid of the music, but becoming those things, then the music is a means to an end, and not the end itself.

24:21 JR: Yes. You’re right.

24:22 CJ: Right. Okay.

24:23 JR: Yeah.

24:24 CJ: This is good because what this does is it takes a lot of pressure off the music.

24:28 JR: Right.

24:29 CJ: Okay. So-

24:29 JR: All right. So two at this point.

24:33 CJ: Yeah. Right. So that means if you posted a meme, or you posted a video of whatever, or you and your wife, or the kids, or a personal story, or a song, any one of those things works together for J.R.’s ultimate objective, which is this … And we’ll have to come up with some way to describe it, but this enhancement of people. I’m going to use for a working title, we’re going to call this … Your mission is musical life enhancement. So that’s your job in life is musical life enhancement.

25:15 JR: That’s awesome. I have a title now.

25:18 CJ: So that’s something you can wrap your head around, right?

25:22 JR: Yeah.

25:22 CJ: It’s not genre specific, right?

25:25 JR: Yeah.

25:26 CJ: It’s not micro-niche, so we don’t have to bring in any of that stuff. Is it something people are more interested in than just specific genres as it relates to mainstream music? Yeah, I think-

25:38 JR: Absolutely. Yeah. Sure.

25:40 CJ: Yeah. I think people will take from whether it’s Snoop Dog or Simon & Garfunkel, as long as they’re both making them feel good, they probably have both on their iPod. And hopefully, some Iron Maiden, but the singing sucks. But again, that net effect. So the point is, and the reason why all of this is important, J.R., is because we’re at a particular stage right now where we’ve been around the internet for a while, the internet has been around a long time, it appeared around the same time when we saw the first cracks in the music industry with Napster at the end of the 20th century, right?

26:23 JR: Yeah.

26:24 CJ: And things have grown, and then what was once this illegal distribution of MP3s through these torrent bots, eventually it got cataloged and distributed now through iTunes, and the introduction of the iPhone, and that eventually would give way to streaming where it used to be, “Wow. You can buy a whole album and download it directly to your iPod.” That is ancient now.

26:54 JR: I know. That’s true.

26:56 CJ: But with all of those tremendous advancements, with all of those tremendous advancement, still, the artist is in the same place.

27:04 JR: Yeah.

27:05 CJ: Right? Because there is no iTunes, there is no Napster, there is no Spotify, there is no record industry without the artists. None of them can exist. So the people that are making the most off the artists are people who can’t write a damn lick. Can’t write a riff, can’t write a lyric, can’t sing their way out of a box. So we know that years removed, the music industry is unjust. Okay. So then we have to play differently. So we are going to play differently because we now have a factor on our side that we haven’t had before, and that is social media. So that’s the big game-changer because, as you noted earlier, you can now go to market. You can go and find people.

Yeah. Even if you wanted to, try and find fans of your old band and that sort of thing. So that’s an advantage. But it’s a limited one if we’re only thinking of genre. So, as I like to say, people don’t put up any defenses for self interest. I have yet to find the person I couldn’t hand a $100 dollar bill to.

28:19 JR: Right.

28:20 CJ: Very hard to find. So there’s no defense for self-interest. So let’s get as close as we can to handing people $100 dollar bills, and one thing that they love is why do they love the $100 dollar bill? It makes them feel better. Why do they love music? It makes them feel better. Why do they love a positive message? It makes them feel better.

28:42 JR: Yeah. You’re right.

28:44 CJ: So even though you’re into musical life enhancement, we know that because your stuff is mainstream, everybody likes music. So it’s not hard to target mainstream people. So we’re going to look also at, “Okay. Well, let’s look at the life enhancement stuff.” So if you find or thinking like comparable artists, you might put some of those in. I wouldn’t go into heavy billboard magazine or stuff like that. We don’t want people that are following chart type stuff. I saw you had done a great cover of the … What’s the George Michael song? A few years back you did it.

29:26 JR: Oh, yeah. Shit.

29:30 CJ: Well, I don’t feel bad for not remembering.

29:32 JR: Oh my god. I just did a whole album of covers.

29:36 CJ: Oh, did you?

29:38 JR: Yeah, I did.

29:39 CJ: Oh, that’s great.

29:40 JR: Yeah, it was cool. I just pulled stuff from growing up, and-

29:46 CJ: That’s really cool.

29:48 JR: Yeah. Well, it’s interesting too because … Not to sidestep here, but I just had taken one of the songs because I did a cover of them, Unchained Melody.

29:57 CJ: Oh, wow.

30:01 JR: But my idea was to do it more like Pearl Jam might do it or something.

30:06 CJ: Oh, wow.

30:07 JR: So, I just kept it very organic and stuff, but hitting all the high notes and everything. And as I was doing my targeting thing, and I left it rather broad, Facebook just found this niche of people who were 70 and above.

30:26 CJ: Great.

30:26 JR: So the next thing I know, I’m just selling a ridiculous amount of albums to all of these, and I’m getting all these women, one of them named Betty, and these old classic names. They’re trying to figure out how to download, they thought they brought the CD, but realized they brought the same whole download, and they can’t figure it out. It’s hilarious. It’s not who I would have targeted to initially. I just left the age thing pretty open. Anyways, I just did this last month, and I probably already sold almost 500 copies of the album, CDs.

30:59 CJ: Okay. Hold on here. Hold on here. All right. Look at what J.R. is doing here by accident.

31:06 JR: This typically not happens with me.

31:12 CJ: Well, as a marketer, this is great, great, great data. Leah would be having a fit right now because this is what she begged for. What this tells us is, “Okay. If he’s doing this by accident, what happens when we get intentional?” And I think that’s interesting because … How old are you now, if you don’t mind me asking?

31:35 JR: Oh, no. That’s fine. I’m an old guy. I’m 53.

31:35 CJ: 53? Okay. Yeah, me too. I’m actually 54, and I know … Neither of us look it, J.R.

31:43 JR: No, no. I thought I was the old guy.

31:47 CJ: Yeah. So what’s great about it is you’ve kept in shape, you’re a handsome guy, you’re a good communicator. Again, phenomenal vocalist, and I really want … I’m going to make in a podcast of this, so I really want people who are listening to this to go check out your music because this is a great example of the kind of talent you can have, and still be wondering what to do. In other words, that it just doesn’t all come down to talent, and so we have to get this marketing thing going. But what’s great about that is we think of when you and I were in our … Shoot. Oh, when you were young, the drinking age was 18.

32:34 JR: Yeah.

32:35 CJ: You remember those days. So we would be at parties, and there would be somebody who would be hanging out with us, and who would be like, 29 or 30 years old, and we thought, “What are they doing here?”

32:50 JR: Right. Ancient.

32:51 CJ: “They are ancient.” So to think 40, 45? Forget it. We’re old folks home, right?

33:00 JR: Yeah.

33:01 CJ: Well, here we now stand as mutual members of the 50 club.

33:07 JR: Yes.

33:09 CJ: And we’re sitting here thinking, “Mm-hmm (negative). No. It is not that at all.” So age isn’t the factor here, but what’s interesting about it is because of how I just described you, you can reach into two different worlds. You can reach to those younger than you easily, and you can reach to those older than you apparently easily.

33:32 JR: Yeah. Apparently.

33:32 CJ: And I thought, “I haven’t even thought of that as of yet.” I’m just thinking of who’s the ideal Superfan for you.

33:39 JR: Right.

33:40 CJ: Heck. I would have never said 70 plus.

33:44 JR: Well, I think-

33:45 CJ: 65 plus.

33:46 JR: Yeah. I think only because up until between a covers album, and having to choose songs that I grew up listening to. They were songs that were hits when these people were younger obviously. So they’re big, huge, important connectors. So that’s how I showed up on the radar.

34:03 CJ: Well, and one of the things that I think that they’re going to appreciate, and maybe they even written this to you because they’re going to see you as a young man, right?

34:12 JR: Yeah. Obviously yes.

34:15 CJ: How great it is to see a young man treating these songs with such respect, and doing such a wonderful job, and bringing in new life to them, and that sort of thing? So what we’ve got here, J.R., is a storefront. In other words, you can have multiple storefronts.

34:34 JR: Right.

34:35 CJ: Right? So we have a market that we can push this cover album to, but that doesn’t mean that very same album can’t go to a whole lot of other people.

34:49 JR: You’re absolutely right. Yeah.

34:50 CJ: So we want to get people to know you. So in that regard, I don’t need anything complex to brand you because it’s social media. So, I’m only interested in personal branding.

35:04 JR: Right.

35:05 CJ: So what’s the most personal way we can brand J.R. Richards? And is that the artist name you’re using?

35:12 JR: Yeah. Yeah, it’s J.R. Yeah.

35:13 CJ: Okay. So the most personal way that I could brand J.R. Richards is, now this is going to be deep, but the most personal way that I can brand J.R. Richards is by simply using the name J.R. Richards. So simple. That’s as plain as it gets. J.R. Richards. That’s it. That’s all we want to brand. So, I think people think, “There’s got to be …” Yeah, we can have a tagline. Sure. You might have a cute little tagline, whatever. I use Tony Robbins meets Metallica, Daily Screams For Living Aggressively. It’s just little. But people, they know CJ. That’s what they know, and at some point, the decision anymore that I’m Metal Motivator because I’m not playing music.

There’s nothing. If you listen to my videos or any of my stuff, close your eyes. It sounds like anybody else who’s doing something similar, so I’m not unique in that regard. So that’s how I would look at you as a brand. So, I’m like, “Okay.” But you’re like, “Okay. Well, I’ve already got that in place, bro. I’m already J.R. Richards. I got a page named J.R. Richards. People know me as J.R. Richards. My albums have J.R. Richards.” I know. But now you can sleep at night. That’s the first thing because I want you to be resolved.

36:40 JR: Right. Thank God for that. I guess I can get some sleep.

36:47 CJ: I started Metal Motivation 10 years ago, and when I say Tony Robbins meets with Metallica, Daily Screams For Living Aggressively, Metal Motivator, I don’t lose a wink of sleep thinking, “Did I name it right? Am I sure about this? Do I still really believe in … Is that still how I want to describe myself?” Absolutely, so I can be abandoned to the tasks, to all the necessary evils every day of marketing, and that’s what I want is J.R. Richards to be abandoned to saying, “Hey, I got one mission in life, and that is to connect with as many people as I can because my mission is musical life enhancement. And if I’m not out there doing it, people’s lives enhanced, and that’s not a good thing.”

37:35 JR: Definitely not. Definitely.

37:38 CJ: So just looking at it, obviously there’s a lot more you can get into, and we can do that. But you may have had a list of things you wanted to sort of cover in this, but that’s where I like to start is in who you are, and what you’re about.

37:57 JR: Well, yeah. That’s the fundamental part of it because I have a clue, but I don’t have a clue. And a lot of it is, like you said, it’s having something that’s a little more defined that you can say, “That’s exactly where it is.” I have a very specific target in mind.

38:12 CJ: Right.

38:13 JR: And if I’m sitting here going, “I’m not really sure if I’m this or if I’m that.” Then you’re right, how can you communicate yourself to anyone? Communicate to anyone an idea. You’re ambiguous in your own right.

38:23 CJ: Right. I think you can start, obviously when it comes to audience targeting with things that are more general in the sense of more mainstream artists, and you might want to, and again I’m just speaking off the top of my head initially, you just whipped out 500 copies to 70-plus-year-old people, so you can throw a wrench in anything that I’m saying. I realize that, but I wouldn’t shy away from who that ideal demographic is for you whether it is just-

38:57 JR: You’re absolutely right. I had a number one hit in 1996, ’97. I’m a classic artist now. It’s crazy to think, but it is true. So you’re right.

39:12 CJ: Yeah. So that’s the dynamic we have at play. These are the demographics that are at play. These are the psychographics that are at play. So that’s a lot of helpful information. As I say in battle, you have the high ground. You get to shoot down on your enemies, not have to climb up wondering what your genre, and micro-niche, and all this other stuff is.

39:36 JR: Right.

39:37 CJ: So if we know the demographic, the kind of people, then okay that helps us to sort of put different artists or bands in the ad manager to target our ads. Then we say, “Okay. Well let’s try to think outside of that a little bit, and okay, what are some other things that you might know about your fans that are things that we can target?” Again, I mention the inspirational type stuff. It’s always good to finish off your targeting with inspirational things. You want people who-

40:21 JR: Yeah.

40:21 CJ: … like inspiration. They’re happy people, and-

40:27 JR: Right. The cup is half full.

40:29 CJ: Yeah. Exactly. And you want those kind of people. So maybe who read the four agreements or what is it? Live, laugh, love, I don’t even know all the names of things. But you don’t want necessarily Tony Robbins type people. We’re not looking for real estate salespeople. They’re just happy people. They want to enjoy life, and that’s the older people, like the old bar owner that I used to work with, he was so concerned about getting young people in the bar. He didn’t want to be called a bar for older people. I said, “That’s who’s spending the money.”

I said, “These young people are doing exactly what I did at their age. Getting a case of extremely cheap beer, slamming it in the parking lot, and then going in and buying one drink or no drinks.”

41:23 JR: Right.

41:24 CJ: All right. So they don’t have money, dude. Especially nowadays. They’re all at home, failure to launch.

41:30 JR: That’s right.

41:32 CJ: So you want the people who have disposable income who can do these things, and so they have the discretionary income to be able to buy albums and things like that, and they’ll even get the tee shirts and whatnot. So then, that makes me think, “Okay.” And you’ve heard Leah talk about culture before. In other words, the things that surround the lifestyle that surround the music. Again, in her case, very easy. Castles, Game of Thrones, all that kind of stuff. That’s easy. But what about for you? What are the things that are going to be … Well, it’s probably going to be more mainstream stuff, so whereas Leah might be able to sell Leah hoodies, you might be able to sell canvas wall prints.

42:25 JR: Yeah. I see what you’re saying.

42:26 CJ: You know what I mean? Because you’re probably going to appeal to people who you might have an inspirational saying from one of your lyrics. You probably have tons of tee shirts and cool stuff just from your lyrics.

42:39 JR: Exactly. Yeah, yeah.

42:42 CJ: So, I would sell that because people are probably going to be more … Here’s one of my shirts. It says motivated by metal. So none of my shirts have my name on it, nothing to do with me because who cares? Now, of course, you’re an artist. Sure, they’re going to want probably something at some point, but initially, I want them to wear something that says something about them. So one of my tag lines for my gear is to say, “Wear your attitude.” Right? [crosstalk 00:43:12] Because that’s what I want them to do.

43:13 JR: That’s right. Yeah.

43:14 CJ: So if you’ve got some cool lyrics and stuff, then inspiration is part of your culture, right?

43:24 JR: Yeah.

43:24 CJ: Inspiration is part of your culture. The values that surround people in our age group is part of that culture. So what might they watch? Who knows? Maybe it’s Friends. So maybe they like Jennifer Aniston. Maybe they like Matt LeBlanc. Maybe they like Jerry Seinfeld. You know what I mean? Not Curb Your Enthusiasm necessarily, but maybe Seinfeld, because what is Seinfeld, Friends, and The Office all share in common? What would you call them? Not just TV, they would be nostalgic.

44:11 JR: Yes. Nostalgia is very powerful.

44:13 CJ: Right. So why does the 70 plus people buy the cover album?

44:17 JR: It’s all nostalgic?

44:18 CJ: All nostalgia.

44:19 JR: Yeah. You’re absolutely right.

44:19 CJ: So nostalgia is a huge selling point. Inspiration is a huge selling point. See, we’re starting to think not just genre. We’re trying to think psychographics. The psychology of people because we know people are going to like stuff. They’re going to like popular music.

44:37 JR: Yeah.

44:39 CJ: And I’ve heard, again, some of your stuff and I’m like, “It doesn’t matter that I’m a metalhead. This dude can sing.” So, I know that’s going to happen for other people. So now I want to think, “Okay. Well then how am I going to get these people on board? Okay. I’ve got all this in the targeting, I’ve got all this in the ad manager. Well, J.R., how am I going to get them to stop and press play?” By saying, “Hey, I’m middle of the road. Listen to my video.”

45:05 JR: Right. Yeah.

45:06 CJ: No. What did you tell me you were? You were about melancholy, sensitive, think about things deeply, et cetera. Okay. So you talked about how one guy might write in and say he talked about how he lost his father.

45:22 JR: Yeah. I get a lot of that.

45:24 CJ: Okay. So you might have a song and you say, “If you’ve ever lost someone, and it stopped you in your tracks, I wrote this for you. Dot, dot, dot.”

45:35 JR: Right. That’s-

45:37 CJ: And that’s all you’re saying.

45:39 JR: Yeah.

45:40 CJ: That’s all you’re saying. You’re not saying, “Hey, I’m an artist,” and, “Hey, blah, blah, blah.” The reason being is because social media, which means your post, J.R., is appearing right before a post from their mom or right after a post from their best friend.

45:52 JR: Yeah, you’re right. Talk about connecting with where they’re at emotionally.

45:58 CJ: Exactly. So, I’ve got a close up picture of you as a profile picture, I’ve got the blue letters of Facebook writing out your name J.R. Richards is appearing on the newsfeed. So, I like to tell people, when they ask me about their logo, I said, “I really don’t care what your logo looks like because for all intents and purposes, the only logo that people are seeing is a profile pic and a blue name.”

46:20 JR: Yeah, you’re right. They’re pretty small too.

46:22 CJ: They’re not seeing your website, they’re not seeing all your branding and all that stuff. That’s your brand. Your brand is whatever that profile picture is, which is why I don’t want you distant in the shot, I want you close up, use the face God gave you, bro.

46:35 JR: Right.

46:36 CJ: Then J.R. Richards because in other words, you look just like everybody else now.

46:40 JR: I do, right?

46:43 CJ: Right. You’re a personal brand. Then I’m just simply going to say, “If you’ve ever lost someone, and it stopped you dead in your tracks, I wrote this for you. Dot, dot, dot.” Then what do they see right below that? Well they see a video panel, right?

47:00 JR: Yeah.

47:00 CJ: A thumbnail, and then what’s that that overlays? What’s that circle thing with the arrow in it? It’s called a play button.

47:11 JR: Oh, right. Yes, of course.

47:13 CJ: Probably the highest converting tool on the internet.

47:17 JR: Yes, it is.

47:18 CJ: A play button. The only other one would be an X button, which means close it. Or expand, the two arrows in the corner. Expand it. So the play button. So the play button is great because the play button introduces a conflict. Well, excuse me, no. The play button gives you the ability to resolve conflict because if you’re interested in something, “Oh, wow. Look what these protestors just did.” Okay. How do I resolve that?

47:49 JR: Press play.

47:51 CJ: I got to press play. Okay. So my copy is about, as Leah likes to say, which I think is true, all we’re selling is the click. See, we think, “Oh my god, I got to get people on board so I can do this, so I can sell them an album, so I can …” We’re thinking of a whole funnel. No. What you’re doing right now is selling a click because we can get them past that first base, because I’m fully confident that J.R. Richards will have no problem overwhelming people as soon as you start singing. That’s the easy part. The hard part? Knowing who to target, how to get them to press play.

48:26 JR: Right.

48:27 CJ: So if we give them too much to read, we’re watering down the possibility of getting conflict. We want to get it quick.

48:34 JR: Right.

48:35 CJ: So that’s just something unresolved.

48:37 JR: Right, right. No, you’re absolutely right, and it’s funny that you mention that because for this particular ad on Facebook, I had put a video on it. So it’s just real quick like go back in time with J.R. Richards singing your favorites or whatever it is, and there’s a picture of me in front of a microphone with your click arrow on there. So boom, you can watch me sing. Granted, it’s a whole covers album, but I just happen to have chosen Unchained Melody.

49:06 CJ: Right.

49:09 JR: So you’d watch me sing 30 seconds of it or whatever, and that seems to obviously then react.

49:16 CJ: Yeah. You could have a freaking field day, dude, with headlines because you could say something like, “Let me take you back to one of the greatest songs of the 1960s…”

49:31 JR: Right. Yeah.

49:34 CJ: “Let me take you on a journey.” But very personal. Not speaking, “Hey, guys.”

49:40 JR: Right.

49:40 CJ: Because you say, “Guys,” and I’m sitting here going, “Who is he talking to?”

49:45 JR: I’m just here in the room by myself.

49:47 CJ: Yeah. The room by yourself. So all we want to do is get one person. That’s your goal. To get one single person. So I used to tell people, “This way is imagine that you saw somebody, imagine you had a song that would …” Again. You say you saw a friend of yours on Facebook, who was grieving at a post about the loss of their dad, and you know you’re not going to write a novel to them, so you’re going to message them, inbox them, and say whatever to get them to listen to the song. That’s how you need to be thinking.

50:22 JR: Right. I see what you’re saying.

50:24 CJ: For all of your songs whether it’s happy, melancholy, it doesn’t matter. That’s how you need to be thinking. If you will think like that and be as personal as that, you will bring them in by the droves. Then how you show up every day once they’re following you and all of that, it’s the same thing. Then you’re showing up and saying, “Hey, guys. I hope you’re doing well today, man. I had a thought this morning. I was taking a walk, and I remembered when I went through blankity blank.” Not necessarily music or anything like that, but you can talk about getting life enhancement.

You say, “I’ve been on this planet a long time, guys. If there’s anything, I want to live happy. I know the world is crazy, but I want to live happy, and I want you to live happy. So to hell with whatever is going on today. Let’s just be happy.”

51:19 JR: Nice. Bobby McFerrin, man.

51:23 CJ: That’s right. But everything that we’ve been talking about is about making this thing work organically for you, and man, I think you’ve got some great, great … I love the fact, I love how you started by telling me, “My music is really melancholy, but I’m a positive person.” So that to me, again, the juxtapositions are great.

51:51 JR: Yeah, you’re right.

51:53 CJ: Because they create unique positions in the marketplace.

51:57 JR: Right.

51:57 CJ: Right? Because people think, “Well, how does melancholy and optimism go together?” Well, how did metal and motivation go together? People don’t normally think about it until you think, “Well, yeah.” You don’t somebody who’s just hyper positive thinking with a complete rejection of reality itself that they don’t recognize anything. Super positive people are not helpful to reaching and talking to people who are broken.

52:27 JR: Right.

52:29 CJ: Right? The broken are masters at mending, right?

52:32 JR: Right.

52:33 CJ: You have to have lived through some things. So no, by being this melancholy optimist, which is something you might want to use as a hashtag, you might use that, dude. Melancholy optimist.

52:51 JR: That is pretty badass.

52:55 CJ: Which means I’ve been through life. “So, I’ve been through life, so I know better how to enjoy it.” Write that down. “I’ve been through life, so I know better how to enjoy it.” And you can obviously reword that or define it, learn how to enjoy it, but that’s the thought.

53:13 JR: Well, I think that from a lyrical perspective, I’ve seen a lot of things that might be heartbreaking from one part, you have difficult things that we go through in life with this, but I always try to put a positive spin on it. I hate to leave a song with like, “You’re screwed, and you’re screwed.” End of song. You know what I mean? It’s like trying to put some ray of light in there, but that’s typically how I try to deal with anything that I’m dealing with is try to figure out what that upside could be. That’s how you get through.

So this is all brilliant, and I’ve got a page of pretty awesome scribble on it right now.

53:56 CJ: Yeah. I think what’s going to happen for you is as this begins to weave itself into the fiber of your being, obviously, we went over a lot of information. And as you begin to filter it through and it becomes more you, everything that I’m telling you is principal based. But I think what’s going to happen is as you work this through, and get this part that works before the scaling, and then go back through and review some of the modules and elite, they’re going to look so much different to you now.

54:26 JR: Oh, no doubt. No doubt. I’m actually excited about going back through the program again just because it’s a lot, and you have to kind of mature with it in order to fully appreciate what’s going on. It’s like reading a book twice that you really enjoy. You’re going to get a lot out of it the second time around.

54:42 CJ: You might skip the micro-niche and branding board stuff. Dude, that stuff is not that big a deal.

54:52 JR: Yeah. It’s really more mechanical stuff. You’re right. Yes. Absolutely confident.

54:54 CJ: Yeah. When you get into the page likes, and the running video view ads, and retargeting, and building your email list, and the nurture campaigns, and creating products in your store, that’s going to be more where … It’s intimidating that it’s a lot to do, but you’re going to look at it so much different because you’re like, “Oh.” What’s going to be great is that you will not personalize it anymore. It’s going to be as mechanical as making a new record. It’s going to be like, “All right. Whatever.” It’s a lot of work, but I’ve done hard work before. I won’t be personalizing the failures, or the intimidating, or the whatever, because it’s when you struggle with that, when you start haven’t resolved with who you are, and what you’re about that it makes it … That’s why people stop, or they quit, or whatever.

But if you know who you are and you’re chomping at the bit because you’re like, “Damn, man. I jived with everything CJ said. I want to be that. I want to see how that works. I want to with some of those short headlines and see if people click play.

56:00 JR: Yeah.

56:01 CJ: You’re going to be ready to attack those things. That’s what’s going to be helpful. It’s going to be like, “This is just mechanic stuff.” And failure is a mechanical term. People make it personal.

56:10 JR: Right.

56:10 CJ: But it’s just a mechanical term.

56:14 JR: Yeah, yeah. I know. It’s all good.

56:16 CJ: Yeah.

56:17 JR: No. Having a better sense of what’s going on, plus having more familiarity with knowing how to use it and these kinds of things. I’ll be so much more effective when I go through it again just because things won’t be as ambiguous they were the first time around.

56:34 CJ: Yeah. I think you’ll be interested to learn more about you, man. We got a lot of listeners out there, so-

56:40 JR: Yeah, yeah. I’ve been looking around the edges on the forums groups, but I’ll probably be getting more into it now that I feel like I’m coming of age.

56:47 CJ: Yeah. I’d love to hear from you more, and again, if you struggle with anything or whatever, don’t hesitate to reach out. We should probably connect on Facebook and that way you can just DM me. I’m chained to my desk, I’m around most of the time, and if there’s anything that you need, just hit me up.

57:11 JR: CJ, I really appreciate that. Definitely.

57:13 CJ: Yeah. You bet, dude. No. Thanks for doing this.

57:16 JR: Yeah. I’m happy that you’re available too like this too, man. You’re the chief resource.

57:24 CJ: All right, my friend. Anything else?

57:26 JR: No, no. That’s massively helpful.

57:29 CJ: Good.

57:31 JR: Yeah. If I happen to have something quick, I’ll run it by you, but certainly, come by and say too.

57:36 CJ: Sounds great, man.

57:37 JR: I’ll let you know how I think you’re going.

57:39 CJ: All right, pal. Have a great week, man.

57:40 JR: Yeah, you too. You too.

57:41 CJ: All right. See you in a week. Take care.

57:43 JR: All right, man. Thanks so much again.

57:44 CJ: The entire music industry just changed overnight. Suddenly, every band and musician has had their live gigs canceled indefinitely. No one knows when live events are coming back. And when they do, the competition will surely be fierce. Artists are realizing they have to pivot quickly if they want to earn an income with their music. Musicians are now scrambling to figure out how to sell their music online. They need answers and they need them now. If this is you, then discover our new Savvy Musician Inner Circle Membership. It’s a private subscription-based coaching group to help you launch and market your online music business fast.

For one, low, monthly subscription, you’ll get live weekly marketing instruction, plus tips, tools, news, updates, and your questions answered. It all takes place in a private Facebook group that I, CJ Ortiz, will be hosting, and I’d love to help you build your online music business. To learn more, go right now to SavvyMusicianAcademy.com/InnerCircle.

Episode #105: Facebook or YouTube? Which is the Best Platform for the Online Musician?

If you are building a music business, should you focus on YouTube of Facebook? Well, both honestly! But as C.J. explains the pro’s and con’s of both, you’ll find that Facebook by far has the advantage.

Would you rather have 1,000,000 video views on YouTube or 100 superfans that would buy anything in your store? If you’re serious about earning a living from your music, and not just doing this for vanity, the answer is obvious and C.J. tells you how and why Facebook is the answer.  

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Getting a plan for your music business
  • How YouTube is favoring mainstream media
  • YouTube is a search engine
  • Facebook is a share engine
  • How Facebook is true social media
  • How to find your superfans with Facebooks ad manager
  • Uploading videos directly to Facebook vs. sharing from YouTube
  • Connecting your Instagram and Facebook business profile
  • Personal vs. business profile


“You need a way forward to how you can find your place in this online busy world, stand out, gain a following, build your little musical empire, and earn a living making music.” – @metalmotivation [0:02:18]

“You can get millions of views on YouTube and it not make a single dent on your bank account.” – @metalmotivation [0:04:03]

“YouTube is a search engine. Facebook is a share engine.” – @metalmotivation [0:05:20]

“Unless somebody is specifically sitting down and looking for you, it’s not likely that they’re going to stumble upon you.” – @metalmotivation [0:05:45]

“Facebook is true social media. Social media, it’s the broadcasting of person to person.” – @metalmotivation [0:07:12]

“The first step now to building a successful online music business is going to be connecting with your ideal superfans, and the best way to do that is going to be with Facebook.” – @metalmotivation [0:10:03]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

The Online Musician 3.0 — https://explodeyourfanbase.com

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

The Inner Circle — https:savvymusicianacademy.com/innercircle

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. Thank you again, man, for joining me for this music marketing podcast, where we are preparing musicians for the new music industry. In case you haven’t gotten the memo, the music industry has changed yet again. Again, things have always been schemed against the musician. The creative person is the one who’s always left holding the tab. And so what we seek to do here at the Savvy Musician Academy is empower and equip you, today’s musician, to create an online music business.

Now, a year ago, even six months ago, saying the online musician or saying building an online music business just sounded like something weird, something off the beaten path. It’s just something for DJs or somebody who does electronic music to do. That serious musicians aren’t really concerned about the online music business. They’re trying to get signed or they’re trying to build up their local followings, play in venues. Well, the whole world has changed yet again. With COVID-19, the world has been on lockdown, live music venues are closing all over the place, bars are closed. It’s harder and harder today to even get the live events. So now more and more people are rushing into the online space. But guess what? They don’t really know how to prepare an online music business. So suddenly, the Savvy Musician Academy becomes a that much more valuable source.

So excited about the times in which we live because of what’s possible for more and more musicians. And you have to look on the bright side. You have to look on the upside because so much seems to be against us circumstantially, so much seems to be against us. And it takes personal strength, it takes a strong mindset, but even that is not enough. You need a plan. You need a strategy. You need a way forward to how you can find your place in this online busy world, stand out, gain a following, build your little musical empire, and earn a living making music. That’s right. You can actually earn a living making music if you’re prepared to do the work, if you’re prepared to be consistent, if you’re ready to do something maybe you’ve never done before, but something that musicians just like you have learned and are doing right now.

So listen, before we get into today’s podcast, do me a favor. Please leave reviews for this podcast. It’s a great way for other musicians and artists like yourself to discover this informative show. Also, it is a great way for us to hear what you think, to get feedback from you. We read every review in our team meetings here at the Savvy Musician Academy. So go to your favorite podcast player and do that for us.

But today, I want to talk about Facebook or YouTube. Which is the best platform for the online musician, Facebook or YouTube? And I often pit these two against each other. I understand that there’s Spotify out there, and we can talk about Spotify on another show. But I think what happens is a lot of musicians look at YouTube much the same as they looked at the traditional music industry, or much the same as we looked at the internet. So for example, if something is successful on the internet, we say that that thing is viral. Their video went viral. So that means if millions of people happen to see your video, then you’re all set. Not at all. You can get millions of views on YouTube and it not make a single dent on your bank account.

You see, YouTube continually changes as well. And most professional, full time YouTubers could make money with not massive followings. They could still make pretty good money on YouTube. But YouTube has changed. YouTube is now favoring mainstream media, and that’s who’s getting the search rankings, that’s who’s getting featured, that’s who’s being listed in suggested videos. And so the original YouTubers, the creative people who helped build YouTube, are now being driven to platforms like Patreon to have to get their followers or their fans to actually pay for them to do their music or do their art. Whereas what it used to be, you could get the views and then you’d get money off of advertising. You can still do that, but it’s minimal and it’s becoming more and more competitive.

But there’s a simple way to distinguish the two that I think is the most important and I think will answer the question for you, Facebook or YouTube? And I say it this way. YouTube, which is owned by Google, is a search engine. Facebook is a share engine. That’s a big difference. YouTube is a search engine. Facebook is a share engine. If you need to fix your sink, you go to YouTube. Need to fix something in your car, you go to YouTube. I had to fix my vacuum cleaner. Guess where I went? YouTube. Need to learn how to do dead lifts or lift weights? Go to YouTube. You need to find out something about nutrition? Go to YouTube. YouTube is a search engine. So unless somebody is specifically sitting down and looking for you, it’s not likely that they’re going to stumble upon you. So thinking that your YouTube video is going to go viral is wishful thinking.

So YouTube, again, owned by Google, which is the biggest search engine in the world, is a… And it’s a powerful search engine. It’s amazing. I absolutely love YouTube. I’m a premium member of YouTube so that I don’t have to watch any of the commercials. I pay a fee to YouTube every month just so I can get YouTube commercial free. I love YouTube. But I love YouTube because it’s a search engine, and I don’t do the same things myself on Facebook that I do on YouTube. I don’t search Facebook for how to fix a toilet. I don’t put in hashtags into Facebook or put in keywords or searches to find how to fix this or how to make that, et cetera. I don’t do it. If I go to Facebook to look for anything, maybe it’s for a restaurant that I went to in town, I want to see if they have a Facebook page. Or if I come across another influencer or something, I want to see their Facebook page as well. That’s about it. Or maybe search for a friend or someone, connect with someone. That’s about it.

Facebook is not a search engine. It is a share engine. So if I’m not looking and searching for things on Facebook, then why am I on Facebook? Why do most people spend time on Facebook? Because Facebook is true social media. Social media. It’s the broadcasting of person to person. Therefore, you have people, individuals, communicating with each other. I like to say it this way. Facebook is the internet contained. Facebook because the internet contained.

I remember before Facebook and I was looking at something, I believe it was called classmates.com. And it was a paid subscription service that was online and that you could potentially find old high school friends. So this was back in 2000, I don’t know, 2004 or 2005. And I thought, wow, that’s great. But the problem was you were wishful thinking if you were thinking that some of your other high school friends would even know what Classmates was and be willing to pay a subscription to be on it. So that didn’t work out.

Well, guess what? 15 years removed now, I’m in contact with high school friends, grade school friends, grade school teachers, high school teachers, junior high, you name it. Why? Because of the advent of Facebook. Because prior to Facebook, if someone was goofing off online, you would typically say they are surfing the web. Now if someone is wasting time on the internet, they’re usually checking their newsfeed, checking Facebook, seeing what’s going on, looking at other people’s stuff. So it is now true social media, social broadcasting, where the news is coming from person to person. Whether it’s personal news or mainstream media news, it’s being shared person to person.

Facebook is a share engine. YouTube is a search engine. What do you think is the better platform for you to use? Now, I’m not saying don’t use one or the other. I’m just asking the question, based these definitions, which is the better platform for you to use? Because if you’re going to attract a market to yourself, if you’re going to attract super fans to yourself, you’ve got to be able to find them. What’s the best way to find them? If you had to find people to like your music today, which platform would you reach for? It’s going to be Facebook, because Facebook has individuals on there who are signed up. Therefore, it’s the internet contained.

Before social media, the internet was ubiquitous. We were just anonymous people out there using search engines to visit websites. That was the internet before social media. Now that social media has come along, if you’re going to be on Facebook or Instagram, you have to have a personal account. Therefore, everybody… It’s like everyone being on the same airplane. People contained in an individual place, that’s what Facebook is. Facebook and Instagram are the internet contained because you have to have a personal account to be on them.

10:23 CJ: So again, the first step now to building a successful online music business is going to be connecting with your ideal superfans. And the best way to do that is going to be with Facebook. Why? Because Facebook, despite the protests by privacy and security advocates, Facebook keeps a track of what we like, what we’re interested in, what we follow, et cetera. All of those posts that you like, certain recipes or products or certain entertainers or movies or football teams, all of it, whatever it is that you like or are interested in, your behaviors online are tracked by Facebook. Okay, that’s just the reality.

But is that altogether bad all the time? Well, the only upside to it, you can say, is there are times when there are ideal products or services literally placed on your newsfeed. And you might sit there and think to yourself, how in the world would anybody know that I’m actually interested in that? Well, because you’ve shown interest in other places by following certain pages or people. But Facebook keeps a track of that. And because Facebook keeps a track of that, then if you want to, as a marketer, you can go to Facebook’s database and get people who match your music. If you have fans who follow people who like music, stuff that’s similar to yours, well then, obviously you can reach those very same people.

But you can get that targeting down even more and more and more because it may be that your particular musical genre also has with it a very distinct culture or lifestyle. I could use Leah as a great example. You know that Leah does Celtic fantasy metal. So she’s not only targeting comparable artists, comparable bands as a way to target her audience, she’s also targeting things related to the culture. So Game of Thrones and Dungeons and Dragons or the Hobbit, what have you. Things that are similar or are of interest to her potential audience. Because Facebook keeps a track of all of these things, then she’s able to find those people. And as she runs her ads and does her promotions, she can narrow that down even more and more and more, where she can literally just turn on the Facebook ads and get the results that she wants because she knows her audience. She knows her audience. That’s very difficult to do on YouTube.

The other upside to Facebook is that because Facebook knows who these people are and can lead them to your page or what have you, then Facebook will also do you another solid by keeping track of the people that engage with your content. So you can be posting things on your page, and if you get a good response, good engagement, Facebook will track all that engagement. Engagement would mean likes, comments, shares. So Facebook keeps track of that. Facebook also keeps track of who watches your videos. So if you’re posting a music video or doing a live video to your fans, Facebook keeps a track of all of those. Not just who watched it, but how long they watched it. Because sometimes Facebook will say you got so many views on your video, but it’s counting as a view people who watch 10 seconds or less. Well, I wouldn’t consider somebody who watches 10 seconds of a five minute video as really a serious viewer.

So Facebook will keep track of people who watch certain percentages, like up to 50%, 75%, 95%, 100%. And so you can then later put into the Facebook ad manager, hey, Facebook, give me the list of people who’ve watched 95% of all of my videos. Not just one video, all of my videos. Now, you’re interested in those who watched 95%, because those are more potential people to be an ideal superfan. So Facebook will keep track of those, so you can go back as far as 365 days, a full year. If you’ve been posting videos and doing live videos all year, you can literally get a detailed list of every Facebook person who watched upwards of 95% of all of your videos over a single year. That could be thousands and thousands of people. They may be wanting to listen to more from you. They may want to hear more about your business, more about the merchandise that you have.

So again, Facebook is a share engine. YouTube is a search engine. So because it’s a share engine, then people on Facebook can share your content. How does somebody really share on YouTube? Very difficult to do. And since Facebook doesn’t favor third party links, meaning links embedded in Facebook from another site like YouTube… Remember it used to be years ago, you could place a YouTube link and the video would be playable right there in Facebook. Well, you can’t do that anymore. If you put in a YouTube link, that means you’re taking somebody off of Facebook and Facebook doesn’t like that, so Facebook is going to limit the reach of your video from YouTube if you try to post it on your Facebook page. But if you upload the video directly to Facebook, Facebook knows that videos are popular on their platform. It keeps people on the platform longer because they’re watching something instead of just looking at a meme.

So because of that, the algorithm will favor your content, and you’re giving also then your fans something to share. So if your music video is good, then your fans are going to share it. And again, Facebook is going to keep track of everybody who likes it, comments on it, shares it. It doesn’t matter that they even follow your page. It can be a cold audience completely, and Facebook will still keep track of that.

Why is that important, CJ? Well, in the age of online businesses, an audience is capital. An audience is capital. The the large following that you have on Facebook is greater capital than the large following you’ll have on YouTube. In order to make money from advertising on YouTube, the numbers have to be off the chart. Very, very difficult to do. But with a small following on Facebook, you can start making money almost immediately. That’s such a huge difference.

So again, I’m not saying don’t be on YouTube. YouTube is a place to be. It’s another platform. It’s another storefront. Why not just post the videos there? If you’re making videos, you might as well post them there. But if you’re going to reach your ideal superfan, it’s better to use a social media platform that requires people to have that personal account and that newsfeed. And Facebook and Instagram are the better platforms for that. And I’m sure you know that Facebook owns Instagram, and so the upside also there is you can connect the business account that you have on Facebook to your Instagram profile. And so once you turn your personal profile Instagram to a business profile, you can connect them together, and Facebook is also going to track the content there as well. And so you can run ads from Facebook that will also go to your Instagram following. And so again, you are targeting people, you are reaching people, so you can do this directly. And that’s the tremendous upside to that.

All right. Now, somebody can think, well, but YouTube is free. If I post a video to YouTube, if it gets out there, I don’t have to pay anything for it. Right? You’re right. You’re right about that. It’s just not going to do much for you. I would rather put a little money… You can advertise with a boosted post on Facebook for as little as $1 a day. I would rather run a boosted post of a video on Facebook for $1 a day than I would to just upload it organically to YouTube. Because if I can target the people, then I have a better chance of not just getting people to watch my video, but then taking action. They’ll like my page or maybe go to some offer or what have you.

So I think there are advantages there. Yes, you can add cards and links and things at the end of your YouTube video or in your comments. Yes, you can do that. But again, your ability to specifically target people is limited. You have to depend on people to be searching for something like you in order for them to stumble across you. So when you’re going to start building an online business, the way you’re going to invade that space is going to begin on the most prolific platforms for audience targeting, which is going to be Facebook and Instagram because they are share engines, whereas YouTube is a search engine.

So if you don’t have a Facebook business page, I encourage you to start one today. If you have a Facebook business page but you don’t really get much action on it you’re spending all of your time posting on your personal profile, it’s time to change, because the same problem is there on your personal profile. I know you like getting the feedback. I know you like getting the love. It feels good. It’s just not a smart business move because you can’t really do any business on your personal profile. You’re limited to how many friends you can have, you can’t do any advertising. Facebook is not keeping track of who likes or comments or shares your video or anything that you post. It’s basically useless. It’s vanity metrics. It’ll do wonders for your ego, but nothing for your business. Plus if you try to do business on your Facebook profile, you could get flagged and your account could get shut down. You want to have a business page. So if your Facebook business page hasn’t been getting any love, then it’s time for you to up your game on your Facebook business page.

Now, I know that’s a lot. There’s a lot of details, there’s a lot of unanswered questions, but you can go deeper if you would like. One of the best ways that you can do that right now is to join our Inner Circle, the Savvy Musician Inner Circle, which is something that I’m overseeing. So I’m the coach working with the Savvy Musician Inner Circle, which we just changed. And it is in a private Facebook group, which I’m administrating. We do a live video with question and answer each Friday. Plus we’re posting in there all kinds of articles, information that you’ll need, tips, tools, and things that you can resource to help you build your online music business.

21:55 CJ: So if you want to learn how to post on social media, how to build your following, how to do a lot of this stuff, the Savvy Musician Inner Circle is the best place to start. And because of the way we’ve designed this, we’re able to keep the cost really, really low. We know that not everybody is ready for our Superfan System Elite program, and maybe not ready for the Online Musician, but this is a great place for you to exist. And if you are in the Online Musician or our Elite program, still, the Savvy Musician Inner Circle is a great place to be. Because again, questions are getting answered, and it’s really, really helping a lot of people to build their online business. Just $27 a month and you can quit any time. Just $27 a month. So imagine that. Getting a full marketing education for just $27 a month. Meet other musicians just like yourself, positive people that are building their online music business. So let’s grow and learn together. Go to savvy musician.com/innercircle.

I mentioned also the Online Musician, and 3.0 version has just come out. You can go to theonlinemusician.com to learn more about that. And if you are more advanced and you’re ready to take it to another level because you’ve plateaued in your business, you may want to check out some more about our Elite program. For right now, we don’t have the coaching element. So you can buy just the curriculum if you want. Learn more at our website, savvymusicianacademy.com. But take advantage of the great resources that we have. We’re working overtime to help you, again, build a successful online music business. So again, thanks for joining me here on The Savvy Musician show. We will see you next week with more. Have a great week.

Episode #104: Behind-The-Scenes at SMA, Part 2 with Steve Harnett (Chief Operating Officer)

Continuing our look behind the scenes here at SMA, this week C.J. is joined by our very own Steve Harnett, Leah’s wonderful husband, and our Chief Operating Officer. This is Steve’s first time on the Savvy Musician Show, but he has been with SMA since day one and his experience and insights shared today can not be overstated. 

Jumping from topic to topic with lots of humor in-between, these two great minds offer something for both the beginner and seasoned online musician in this week’s episode, so don’t miss out on getting to learn something new and meeting the one and only, Steve Harnett! 

Key Points From This Episode:

  • The Synergist’s four leadership styles
  • Who SMA is for
  • Steve’s bio with SMA
  • Being your brand
  • It’s all about the principles
  • What it means to take ownership of your business
  • Reasons to add an online component to your business
  • Your music is not for everybody
  • Updates with Tom 3.0 and The Inner Circle
  • The psychology of sales through social media


“A lot of conflicts within bands could be easily resolved if everybody just took on this sort of perspective where you realize that giftings are different, they’re natural, they’re organic, and you should be complementing one another.” – @metalmotivation [0:12:32]

“Who we (SMA) are for are the musicians who actually want to make a living with their art, which is not thing to be ashamed of, nobody should ever feel bad about that ever.” – Steve Harnett [0:21:19]

“Operational people tend to be the break pedal. Visionaries tend to be the accelerator.”  – Steve Harnett [0:27:40]

“It’s about a movement, it’s about independence for musicians… and all musicians are going to be personal brands, and that’s perfectly fine, but you have to understand then that you are the brand.”  – Steve Harnett [0:30:47]

“It’s really about the proven principles of marketing because that’s all Leah has ever been doing… and those principles can be breathed through anyone who applies them and knows them.”  – @metalmotivation [0:33:47]

“The online aspect of your business is another leg of your table. You can’t have a table with one leg. You better have two or three legs on that sucker, four if you can.” – Steve Harnett [0:38:53]

“If you have an audience, you have capital. If you have social influence, you have capital. You have something someone else doesn’t. It is all to your advantage.”  – @metalmotivation [0:41:14]

“Relationship building, culture building, lifestyle building, that’s what creates the sale.”  – @metalmotivation [0:51:11]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

The Online Musician 3.0 — https://explodeyourfanbase.com

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

The Inner Circle — https:savvymusicianacademy.com/innercircle

The Synergist by Les McKeown — https://amzn.to/2Vm3znw

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00:21 CJ: Welcome to the Savvy Musician Show. This is CJ Ortiz. I’m the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. I’ve been having a blast lately getting to do interviews and getting to do behind the scenes stuff here at SMA. I wanted to take advantage of this downtime during the summer to give you a broader view of what the Savvy Musician Academy is all about because as I’ve said before, the Savvy Musician Academy and what it offers is the single greatest response to what has happened negatively to the music industry since Napster in the late 20th century, then what moved into the streaming services on and on and on. You’ve seen it now, venues are closing down. Either way, the only ones that ever get screwed in all of this, in the music industry, is always the artists themselves. And so, who stands up for the artists?

We don’t need just advocates. I saw a post the other day, Don Henley of the Eagles advocating before Congress for copyright issues, et cetera, et cetera. That’s never going to really touch you, ladies and gentlemen. You need to be in control of your own music business, building your fan base online while things are shutdown. We don’t know when venues will come back, how many will come back, what format will come back, what it will cost the artists. We’ve already seen things from Live Nation. They released yesterday that any shows that don’t go well will be charged to the artist. No matter what, the artist is getting screwed, as I said, so what’s imperative now is that you build your online music business and no other company is going to help you do that. No other academy is going to help you do that like the Savvy Musician Academy, through a myriad of ways which we’ll talk about at the end of this podcast, and you’ll discover them more today as I do part two of behind the scenes at the Savvy Musician Academy, and this time I’m going deep.

I’m going insider’s insider, the shadow hand. The man ultimately behind the scenes, and you may not even know who this is. When I say his name, which is Steve Harnett, you probably don’t even know who that is. Those who are in courses, especially the Elite course, will know who he is. Steve is Leah’s husband, and I’ll let him give his actual title, but he’s pretty much the one controlling and administrating just about everything of the Savvy Musician Academy, so let me bring him on. Steve, my friend, good to see you, man.

02:58 Steve: You too, dude. Thanks for having me on the Savvy Musician Academy podcast.

03:05 CJ: Is this your first time on?

03:08 Steve: Yeah, it is.

03:10 CJ: So, Leah never had you on before? She never-

03:12 Steve: No.

03:13 CJ: He’s got nothing valuable to say, so why bring him on? Oh, my goodness. Steve is my dear friend and colleague and pretty much the only other dude who is regularly on the Savvy Musician team meetings, so outside of anyone-

03:35 Steve: Outnumbered.

03:36 CJ: We are very much outnumbered, but outnumbered by brilliant women who are doing great things for the Savvy Musician Academy, but Steve, what would you classify as your official title, CFO, CEO?

03:52 Steve: I guess, COO would be the official title.

03:56 CJ: Operating officer.

03:57 Steve: Yeah, operating officer, but official titles, whatever.

04:01 CJ: They don’t mean much, do they?

04:02 Steve: We all wear multiple hats and that’s just the way it is. We have a small team and we like it that way.

04:08 CJ: That’s right. Well, and there’s more to it than chief and officer. It’s the operations part, which is so critical because if anybody who’s been through some of the courses, especially in Elite, you know the importance of personality profiles, giftings, and these sorts of things. And so for you, I forget the actual personality type of profile thing, but you are an operator, correct?

04:39 Steve: Yeah.

04:39 CJ: What does that mean?

04:41 Steve: Well, there’s basically four types of leadership styles.

04:45 CJ: That’s right.

04:45 Steve: That’s what you were referring to there. There’s the visionary which Leah is almost 100% of. The operator, the processor, and the synergist, which everybody has some level of synergism, but the other three are the ones that were predominantly gifted with one or the other of those three, visionary, operator, and processor. So, I am mostly operator and then synergist, and synergists get along with others, they’re good in teams. Visionaries obviously cast the vision and are really good at creating stuff, but they’re also the glue that holds teams together. They create the culture, which Leah’s known well for in her music side.

05:34 CJ: I laugh at that because I know the downside of the visionary. Being a visionary myself, I’m more of a visionary synergist because I do do well with teams. I love people and I strive to get a long with them. I love the concept of multiple people with multiple giftings working together. Not an operator, although a lot of these things, and I’ve seen this in other personality profiles where you grow, you become aware of what the other giftings are and it doesn’t mean you can’t touch into those things, it’s just not your natural wiring, but you can glean from that, right?

06:13 Steve: Yeah, exactly. So, you have to be in operations just because you’re independently owned and you contract and all those different things, so you have to. Otherwise, who’s going to?

06:28 CJ: Now, this was a huge breakthrough for you guys as a couple, as a family, and in particular, in business, and I want us to go back a little bit in just a second here, but I know that understanding the different roles here was huge for you guys on multiple fronts, wasn’t it?

06:49 Steve: It was, it was a big breakthrough for us because we didn’t understand each other prior to realizing the visionary, operator, processor balance and culmination. So, it was kind of frustrating before that because we didn’t understand each other, we didn’t understand the strengths and the weaknesses and how we can work together, how we can benefit each other until we learned Leah’s a visionary, Steve’s an operator, and why is that good? That’s actually the best combination in a business because you have to have both.

You can start a business with only visionary, but it’s only going to get you so far if you don’t have the operations side of things, which operations takes things more longterm, a visionary gets things off the ground. It was transformative not just from a business perspective, but also from a marriage perspective because we live together, we work together, we homeschool our kids together. Everything is out of our home, so it’s really crucial that we understand each other from that perspective, so that was really, really helpful.

07:59 CJ: And so for those listening, and again, we’ve mentioned it before in podcasts and courses, but this is something that I think is important because he just alluded to when you do work together, which more and more people are as more and more people are working out of home, maybe even now this message is even more important, Steve, going forward because now people are going to have to learn how to work together even more so at the family level and there’s that other element where you just alluded to that the visionary alone, who tends to get a lot of the fanfare, the accolades because they’re the ones with the ideas or the vision for something, they have their particular skill set that’s more publicly consumed, whereas the operator tends to be obviously behind the scenes like I said at the outset.

Maybe there’s a lot of people who don’t know who you are, but yet there would be no SMA without you, and I see it upfront and I’ll often tell people personally that my natural gifting is visionary-type, so I’m always coming up with stuff in projects and I’m a front end, public kind of guy. Everything that I do is stuff I make and push forward out to the public sphere, but for years, and years, and years, Steve, I’ve waited for my complementary gifting, the one who covers the stuff that I don’t cover, to walk through the door, and they have never walked through the door.

Now, you guys had it in a couple. I have never had that person walk through that door and I’ve always wanted it, which means, like you said, because I’m independent I have to learn operations. It’s still not my gifting, and I’m still not doing it effectively as somebody who, like yourself, who has that dedicated gifting, they never walk through the door. So, what did I start doing as an independent person? Well, I can walk through the door of somebody else and be the thing that they need.

I could never get somebody to do it for me, but I could be somebody who could operate visionary-wise, creatively, synergistically within a team, and so that has been a huge thing for me, and in fact, that’s exactly the kind of relationship that I have with the Savvy Musician Academy right now because I fulfill a lot of the creative roles. Now, here I am, even hosting the podcast and you couldn’t find Leah with Sherlock Holmes and a team of hound dogs right now. She’s having her much, much needed break, but she could do that and you guys could do what you’re doing because we do have a very small team, but we all understand this synergistic concept and it allows us to rely upon each other. In fact, when I did the interview with Amy last week, I said-

10:52 Steve: Which was great by the way.

10:53 CJ: Oh, she’s fantastic and I would just love being able to tell her and talk about just how much we all lean on each other, completely. We’re not checking up on each other. This is not micromanagement. We have independent, self-governing people all working for the same team and cause. I bet a lot of these musicians listening to us right now, Steve, wish they had that in their band.

11:19 Steve: I bet they do, I really do. I can’t imagine the struggle they must have.

11:25 CJ: So, we really encourage you guys to work on that. I don’t recall, wasn’t there a book or something?

11:32 Steve: Yeah, there is. It’s actually called The Synergist by Les McKeown. You can find it on Amazon or I believe it’s on Audible and stuff as well. Definitely worth reading because not only will it illuminate to you as a musician if you fit that [inaudible 00:11:52], you’ll have a combination of the different leadership styles, but I’m guessing most musicians are going to find themselves higher in the visionary side of things just because they are creative, but it’ll also help you understand others who aren’t visionary who you need to depend on, and then how you can find those people.

Once you understand the different styles, you can then recognize those in other people and say, “Oh, my friend so-and-so is more of an operator and processor. Maybe he can help me with X, Y, and Z.”

12:28 CJ: Right. Isn’t that interesting how you almost think that a lot of conflicts within bands could be easily resolved if everybody just took on this sort of perspective where you realize that no, giftings are different, they’re natural, they’re organic, and you should be complementing one another. Just because, again, the primary songwriter or something like that tends to get the credit or the vocalist or something who’s out front, if the vocalist and the others would understand, then you would know you need everybody and not one part of the body is more important than the other because you’re all working for this larger vision.

13:10 Steve: Right, bigger than you. It’s bigger than the lead singer, it’s bigger than the lead guitarist, or whoever, and that’s actually a really good point too that this book will cover is the fact that visionaries, operators, processors, they all have an agenda. Their agenda is self-interest, according to what their gift is. So, when you come into a team with your own agenda, and you’re not thinking about this. You’re not saying, “I want my agenda to be the top priority.” But, that’s how we act, we act out of that, and if we don’t try to be more the synergistic side of things, which is what is the agenda of the organization actually? That’s the top priority. What’s the agenda of this band? Where are we going? What’s the mission? That’s the central hub that everybody needs to be focused on and clinging to, not the individual.

14:12 CJ: That is such an important thing because, guys, I operate in that with the Savvy Musician Academy, SMA for short, because they have empowered me, whether it’s this podcast or just recently, we rebooted version 2.0 of the Inner Circle program, which I’m pretty much heading up now. We’ll have other people who will speak into it, other people teaching, that sort of thing. But, it’s under my measure of rule and at the same time, that there’s this autonomy, that there’s this self-ownership, it is completely dominated by the fact that it is a shared vision of what you guys laid down for the Savvy Musician Academy.

And, that’s not limiting, that’s not a limiting thing to me, it’s not a limiting thing to you guys can go to sleep every night and not worry about, well, I wonder what CJ is up to, or something like that. Once ego’s gone, guys, life goes to another level when ego and selfishness and self-interest is not a part of the equation. So, my heart goes out to the bands and artists that do work with people who are that way. It’s any miracle that a band survives. Bands like the Beatles, they never thought they were going to last 10 years, let alone as long as they did. I don’t even know that they lasted that long, but you-

15:47 Steve: It’s amazing.

15:47 CJ: If you don’t understand gifting and the fact that you can’t do everything on your own, you need that, and so it’s great to see that and this is very much on subject because this is very much a part of how the Savvy Musician Academy operates. These guys, they’re constantly reading, they’re constantly teachable, mentoring. They are coaches themselves. We have coaches, you and Leah are coaches, but how many coaches do you have? How much money, Steve, and don’t literally give me the figure, but how much have you guys spent on mentors and coaches over the past three years?

16:33 Steve: Lots, multiple, multiple five figures into the six figures and probably maybe even multiple six figures. We’ve spent a lot of money on books, actual coaches, one-on-one coaches, group coaching, courses, all that kind of stuff. We live by it. We used to call our family car, which is a van, not a sports car, but sometimes I like to pretend, but anyway, it’s our university on wheels. That’s how we treat it, so our kids are listening to podcasts with us and audio books all the time.

17:14 CJ: God, I hope everybody’s listening to this, that nobody leads by better example than Steve and Leah, so when they say, “Hey, this course costs this much.” That doesn’t mean A, that they’re money hungry and B, if they were money-hungry, that they’re going to take everybody in because they don’t. A lot of people get turned away, not everybody’s a good fit, so it’s not about that, and they have spent so much more money and time on their own training and their own personal development than any student that will ever be a student at … you will never spend more money on your personal education than Steve and Leah has, and that’s not just for the sake of comparison to shame you or to make you feel bad. It’s to just say no, man, everything that goes on at SMA, again, behind the scenes, is as pure as we can possibly make it.

This literally is about getting the best results for you guys, and if we say coaching, if we say a course, if we say get into something like the Inner Circle, or try this out, or take this, it’s not just to get money, guys. If you want to build your online music business, this is the stuff you got to do. Who are we going to do, send you to somebody else? Of course not, we’re going to have you start right here.

18:41 Steve: The alternative is you could go to university or college for something, but you’re going to spend a lot more money doing that and like we’ve heard from multiple of our students, you’re going to come away with nothing actionable.

18:55 CJ: We have them, we have Berklee-type grads who … totally, they were no better off. Musically obviously, you’re in a music school, that’s great, but there’s a difference between music and music business. You could play music, you could go on the street with your clarinet or your trumpet or your guitar or banging five gallon plastic drums outside of a subway and just be a purist and make money that way from the change that people throw in your hat, but if you’re going to make music for a living, it is by definition business.

So for example, I was trained, Steve, in visual communications. That’s what my degree is in, so I drew as a kid, I won art contests as a kid, and all of that. Well, I wanted to make money doing this and so I went to school for visual communications, which is essentially commercial art, which people now call graphic design or whatever. Back then, before the internet age, it was called commercial art. In other words, you were doing art to sell products advertise businesses, that sort of thing. And so, now years removed, again, as a kid I used to paint and do all these things, years removed people asked, “Hey, so do you paint or draw or something for a hobby or to relax?” I said no, business took all the fun out of that.

I’m not going to put up an easel and paint something unless I can send an invoice afterwards. I need somebody to bill, so it’s business related. You have to understand that if you’re going to play music, we appreciate the integrity of you as an artist, but it’s a business. If you’re going to make money to do it, and finance yourself, it’s a business, and to be in business, you have to learn how to become a business owner.

20:53 Steve: That’s right.

20:53 CJ: Marketing manager.

20:56 Steve: A good distinction there is we aren’t for everybody, Savvy Musician Academy isn’t for every musician. Some musicians go, “Oh my goodness, make money from your music? No, I could never.” Well, then we’re not for you and that’s okay. You can treat your music like a hobby. You can just love doing it and do it for the fun of it for the rest of your life and that’s totally fine, but who we are for are the musicians who actually want to make a living with their art, which is not thing to be ashamed of, nobody should ever feel bad about that ever. Lots of famous painters made their income by painting and being commissioned to make those paintings.

21:42 CJ: Authors have done the same and entertainment costs, it costs. It’s going to be a business either way, what we’re saying is take as much control of it as you can, so that all of these companies that we mentioned at the outset aren’t the ones who are profiting the most from your business. So, Steve, since I have you here, I have to take advantage of this opportunity because most of the people listening to this podcast are familiar with quote, unquote Leah’s story, which is obviously your story too and your kids’ story, but they’re familiar with Leah’s story and so some people, they may not believe it or they feel like there’s some missing pieces or whatever it may be, but you obviously lived this, so take us back to before the first album was sold, to those days when you guys were … well, you were working in construction and you guys were rubbing nickels together. Take us back to that time.

22:49 Steve: Nickels, maybe pennies even, but no, I grew up in construction myself, so that’s what I fell into. That’s what I knew and was comfortable with, so that’s what I did, but I had my own business. I was an independent contractor in our area for 10 years doing renovations and all that kind of stuff and it was really tough, especially the couple of years leading up to Savvy Musician Academy and even prior to that Leah really taking on her music as a business because we were going backwards.

The harder I worked, the more we paid in taxes. The more behind we got, the more in debt we felt, and it was like this impossible weight, this impossible task that we would never overcome unless we changed our circumstances. So, Leah decided that she was going to take her music more seriously as a business to help out with the family, to help out with the family income because she felt powerless and that’s one thing that she could do that she was already doing in terms of making music.

So, she studied, and studied, and learned and ended up making her first whatever it was, just a few thousand dollars and then it turned into more and then it turned into more, had her first five figure year and then shortly after that she started SMA and I helped her with that, but we had some really rough times prior to SMA even beginning and even in the start just because the stress and burden of finances really rubbed our relationship the wrong way. So, we went through some tough times there, but we’re committed, and we pushed through that, made it through to the other side and started SMA in 2015, I think it was, the end of 2015, and within a couple of months, three months or so, we came to the conclusion that I would be able to quit construction and that was not something we were aiming for, it was just, okay, let’s have this side income, maybe that will help and we’ll get rid of debt and we can start saving for a house and do all these things that we wanted to do but haven’t had the means to do for so long.

And, anyways, SMA just exploded. It hit a nerve in the market, right timing, good marketing, Leah being her ideal customer I think was a real advantage that we had in the marketplace because even to this day, maybe there are some other artists who do what they do as a full time living, but also do training on the side or coaching, but I don’t really know of any. So, Leah had an advantage in that that she’s relatable. She’s not just some person who used to do something in the market, or she used to do marketing and now she does this, or she used to do record deals and now she’s doing coaching. She’s doing it all.

26:13 CJ: Right.

26:14 Steve: From making the music, producing the music, marketing her music, building her music business and then out of those experiences, out of those challenges, successes, failures, she can now teach what is working. And so, I think that really was a key actually and still is to this day.

26:36 CJ: That in fact, which is why she’s on a bit of a sabbatical now because she has been carrying all of that and more, and plus you guys have your kids and now you’ve got the Mythologie Candle business, and so that’s escalated things as well, but again, I want to go back and ask something. You were working construction, so we’re talking like 2011 or so, ’12, when she was like, “I want to try to do something with the music.” Did that just sound impossible to you? There were no other examples really of somebody who was doing what she was doing. How did you feel about that?

27:18 Steve: There was one person, I can’t remember who it is, she’s pretty well-known now I think, that I knew of that was doing something similar to what Leah was wanting to do, or what she was aiming for. She’s another independent artist of some kind, but being the operations kind of guy, operational people tend to be the brake pedal. Visionaries tend to be the accelerator.

27:46 CJ: You’re right, yes.

27:47 Steve: So, I’m always thinking, okay, if that’s going to happen, what does that mean practically? What are we going to have to do? What is that going to look like? And so, it was maybe challenging to see how that was going to work, but I was never in a mindset of disbelief like, oh, you can’t do that, that won’t ever work. So, I think I was always hopeful and I’ve always tried to be supportive of what Leah wants to do, so I think that is really where I was at actually, just okay, do it. I’ll help you however I can.

28:27 CJ: I bet you were like, “But, I’m not quitting the day job.”

28:30 Steve: I’m not quitting yet.

28:35 CJ: Again, I remember I knew you guys at the time and to be able to watch this firsthand … which is great for me because I do come to her defense a lot because at this point, I take offense at people’s criticism of her story and that this is some sort of … she’s cheating or it’s a hack or it’s a secret or whatever. She doesn’t make music anymore. That just, she’s teaching people how to do what she’s doing and so, no, like you said, she still does it all. In fact, this year is pretty much the first that I know of, where she’s really, literally saying, hey, hold off, where she told her own music business hold off.

29:27 Steve: Yep.

29:27 CJ: Because she needs for her health, for her sanity, she needs some literal, physical downtime. Everything just has to be shut down, which is why again, everybody’s hearing so much from me lately is because I’m helping to cover things while we’re pretty much just shutting as much down as we can around her, so that she can first and foremost, be the wife and mother that she wants to be, the person that she wants to be. That’s far more important than anything on business. There’s more than enough ways that we can run a business.

30:01 Steve: Totally.

30:02 CJ: And, talk a little bit about that part, Steve, where you guys came to the place where … I’ve mentioned it. I don’t know that people have really … the coins really dropped for them that you don’t want SMA to be necessarily based on Leah.

30:19 Steve: Right, and I think what’s tough about being a personal brand, which SMA kind of has been for the sake of having one person who is the face and the front and center of the organization, but we did start SMA with a bigger vision in mind knowing that … and that’s why it’s not called Leah, it’s called SMA, Savvy Musician Academy because it’s bigger than just her. It’s about a movement, it’s about independence for musicians and though up until now it has been by default focused on her story, and she has been the face of the brand, which by the way, it’s okay to be a personal brand and all musicians are going to be personal brands, and that’s perfectly fine, but you have to understand then that you are the brand. You can’t be removed from the brand like an organization that’s built on a foundation that’s not one person.

So, there’s a lot of pressure and so being the personal brand, SMA, that Leah has that pressure, but also her own music career and of course, as a musician, and Leah is probably the most genuine, authentic person on the planet, at least that I know. And, she puts pressure on herself. There’s the pressure to be the artist that she wants to be, but then there’s also the pressure to perform in a certain way to show that other musicians can do what she’s doing. So, she’s got the pressure of her music business and then the pressure to perform as a coach in her music business, so other people can take that example.

So, anyway, long story short, I guess the conclusion that we’ve come to is that she’s been experiencing burnout for a while and it comes out in different ways, just not having energy and being able to do the things that she would like to do on a daily basis, and so this time off that she’s taking is for her health and we’re not going away, we’re just taking things off of Leah’s plate, so that she can focus on her health. So, with her music business, her music is still available, she’s still an artist, she still writes music, but there’s no pressure. It’s like, okay, you want to write a song today? Cool, go ahead, but there’s no, I have to have it done by this date, so that we can launch and create this huge marketing campaign and do all this stuff by December 31st, none of that.

There can’t be anything on her calendar, no time constraints for anything, no obligations really other than the basic, daily things of a normal life.

33:29 CJ: This is where I want to take advantage of the opportunity here, which is why I’m so glad that Steve is with us is because especially on this point because it has been based so much on Leah that people miss the point that it’s really about the principles. It’s really about the proven principles of marketing because that’s all Leah has ever been doing, and that’s why I’ll often talk about my marketing background and my experience as long as it has been, so that I can further confirm and affirm and validate that very simple thing that Leah is not pulling tricks out of a hat. She is just more consistently, more professionally, more relentlessly applying the principles that have always governed direct marketing even before the internet.

So, as Steve mentioned earlier, they spent thousands of dollars and thousands of hours on their education as it comes to building an online business, and they learned from the people who have been at this for a very long time. So, they are implementing these principles. Now, someone might say, “Well, okay. Well, CJ, now we’re seeing and hearing from you. Isn’t that another personality brand?” Not at all, in fact, if it’s any visual symbol, it’s a visual symbol of what we just said because I’m not a musician. I am not a musician, so I’m not in here to tell you how to record your album. I’m here to tell you that I’m a spokesperson for the principles that are taught at the Savvy Musician Academy.

So now, it’s no longer just based on the physical person Leah. So in other words, I could step out of this chair, Steve, and someone else who’s maybe one of our Elite students who’s proficient and doing great numbers could literally sit down in this chair and coach the Inner Circle, host this podcast, et cetera, et cetera. So, they are personalities, it doesn’t mean we’re becoming robotic or impersonal at all, no. It’s just that it’s all about the principles and those principles can be breathed through anyone who applies them and knows them and this downtime I think will also help to break that visual connection, I guess, that people have to Leah being the brand, so there are added benefits to here having this downtime. And again, that doesn’t mean we’re not going to hear from her again.

36:09 Steve: Oh, you’ll definitely hear from her.

36:11 CJ: In fact if anything, we might want to put on our seatbelts because she’s going to come back rested.

36:16 Steve: That’s right.

36:18 CJ: Rested and with righteous indignation.

36:21 Steve: Yes, probably. I think the biggest thing is you as an artist have to have ownership, and that’s what Leah really does have is ownership. She owns her music business and that means not that she’s the owner of the music business, not that she’s the primary stakeholder, or shareholder, she is 100% responsible for the success or failure of it, which means she takes it very seriously, every ounce of what she does in that business and even with SMA, that she’s going to own it, success or failure. So, when you take that kind of ownership over your music business, you can guarantee that you will get results. If you haven’t seen results, that’s why.

37:12 CJ: Right. Steve, you obviously have to learn a lot about musicians and you have, you’ve talked to a lot of them, much like Amy’s done. You’ve been on a lot of student calls of people who are inquiring into SMA. If you’re going to advise the musician, what would you tell them?

37:36 Steve: Well, in this day and age, I would advise that you start with your education, really, and that doesn’t mean that you need more training on how to become a better musician. Although, if you suck, that may be true.

37:52 CJ: That’s right.

37:53 Steve: If that’s something you want to pursue and you’re not that great yet, then that’s where you need to start, but if you’re a decent musician already, you have stuff that you’ve created, you’ve recorded, you want to sell it, you want to make a real living with your music, whatever that means, whether it’s a combination of touring, physical live shows, which is fantastic, but you also have to have your online side too. Leah says this all the time, not having all your eggs in one basket. I think one thing we can take away from this whole COVID epidemic, whatever you want to call it, I have some other words for it, but we won’t say it here, is that if all you relied on was the physical presence of your music business, being somewhere, i.e. touring, you now know that you can’t depend on that.

So, you better have a backup plan. So, that’s what we’re teaching is the online aspect of your business is another leg of your table. You can’t have a table with one leg. You better have two or three legs on that sucker, four if you can. So, your online side of your business is, in marketing terms, almost an evergreen part of your business which means it’s working for you every day, every hour, whether you’re there or not.

39:23 CJ: Right.

39:24 Steve: That’s what you need to be building, so that when you do go on tours, when you do do live shows and gigs, you’re not relying on that 100% for your income. We have lots of students that I’ve talked to and that are now Elite students and such, that that was their primary source of income and they were working very hard. Musicians are hard workers, they just need some direction, but when they open up their mind to having an online aspect of their business, these other people that I’m thinking about in particular, they were like, “Holy crap, I am so glad that I started working on this because I’m seeing these results.” It’s usually income-related, obviously, but that they didn’t have before, rather than just working like dogs for ends meet, doing live gigs, taking any gig that they could, not because they wanted to, not because they felt authentic to that gig, because they had to. They literally had no choice. That’s not a position you want to be in. Why are you a musician? So, you can do what you love. Isn’t that right?

40:38 CJ: Exactly. Again, artists tend to get taken advantage of and so now we’re at this unique place in history because you can look at it in one sense, Steve, and think, wow, well, the music industry was already bad. Now you throw COVID and lockdowns and it’s just not like everything is going to open up. Even if it does open up, we’ve already lost tons of venues, so the space is going to become very competitive even in your hometown it will become very, very competitive.

So, if you have an audience, you have capital. If you have social influence, you have capital. You have something someone else doesn’t. It is all to your advantage, which is why we started the end of last year and in the beginning of this year, before this all went down, we were citing this quote by Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins, one of the biggest bands in the world. So, here’s a rock star, who’s already reached the pinnacle, he’s already done it. He’s set for life, and in Guitar World Magazine I think it was, he said, “If I had to give a piece of advice to today’s musician,” he said, “I would spend 100%, not 99%, 100% of my effort on the internet, online, period.” There is no other way to do that.

So, the only person that I know of that has done that, proven that it can be done, done consecutively each year, and if you doubt that, she just went ahead and did it again with a brand new audience, brand new everything for a candle business, ladies and gentlemen, in the middle of an international pandemic, she starts a candle business. Steve, I ask myself, who cares about candles when people are dying, when you can’t go out, when you can’t go to a restaurant? Why in the world would a candle business be doing well? Well, if you know what you’re doing with internet marketing, you’d be amazed what you can sell.

42:57 Steve: That’s right, totally. So, typically musicians love to create their music and then if they do do anything online it’s to put it on multiple different platforms, it’s all over the place. They have no plan, they have no strategy whatsoever, they don’t even know who their audience is. They think it’s for everybody, but it’s not for everybody. It’s for a select few. Those people are the people that are going to buy it. When you go into a music store, you don’t see people buying every CD on the shelves. They go in, if there even are CDs to buy anymore. I don’t know, I haven’t been in a store for so long, but they go and they buy a specific CD from a specific genre. They’re not buying everything, and that’s the same with … so no, it’s not for everybody, it’s for a select individual, a select few and that’s what Leah did with the candle business too.

It’s not for everybody, it’s a niche product. People who like fantasy and mythology and that kind of thing, and then she built the candles around that theme, so they’re theme based. So, they attract a specific person who’s already into whatever, Lord of the Rings, Dungeons and Dragons, and they love it. Even during COVID, because during COVID, they’re reading books, they’re watching Lord of the Rings, they’re playing games, Dungeons and Dragons.

44:33 CJ: They’re at home, they want the home to smell good.

44:36 Steve: Exactly, and it creates the experience that they want. It’s another way to entice their senses with the smell and the sound of a crackling wick.

44:48 CJ: It’s so true. I had a conversation with my son, Joe, yesterday who’s a filmmaker, videographer, and all that good stuff, and I told him, I said … using also SMA as an example, I said people understand that you can make money online, they understand all of these things, but in the creative fields, they’re still trapped by the way things used to be done. They’re still trapped in that way of thinking because they think, well, if I’m going to be popular, then I’m going to be a household name. I said, no, you have to get past that. You have to get to the place to where I can be super, super successful and most households don’t know my name.

45:33 Steve: Right, I think that’s probably because in our culture, we have no vision. There’s a scripture that says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Well, if you have your vision just two days ahead, you have no vision for two years down the road. What are you doing? Where are you going? So, you need to have a longer-term vision. That doesn’t mean you have to have everything worked out, or how that’s going to play out because things change, but where are you going? What’s the direction you’re heading in? You have to have a destination in mind.

46:15 CJ: That’s the key, guys, and I want to finish on that note is that there has to be a destination. So, here you are trapped, locked down in your home, still wanting to play music, still have a desire to do these things, wondering if SMA is right for you. SMA is helpful with helping you determine that direction, helping you determine that vision, helping you to make a … we want to help you make a decision, and part of that may be helping you to discover that SMA is not an option for you, but don’t sit there and wonder, connect with us.

So, if you’ve been at this for some time, maybe you’ve been in the Online Musician course, you did that, and you’re still not moving the needle forward in your business, but you got a little website, maybe a store, or something like that, and you’re just stuck, you may need the Elite program, and they can still do that, Steve, at callsma.com?

47:15 Steve: They can, for the summer, we are actually closing the doors to the coaching part of the program, but they can still get started with the course material itself, and we will be back in the fall, but like you said, we’re taking things off Leah’s plate completely, so that’s one of the things that we’re closing down temporarily for the summer. They can still start with the core Elite program.

47:42 CJ: So, it’s the same curriculum, it doesn’t come with the actual coaching and that sort of thing, so very, very worth it. I think it’s more inexpensive too, correct?

47:51 Steve: It is, definitely, and they can add the coaching later.

47:54 CJ: And then, the course, we just upgrade it to the Online Musician 3.0. Now, I did Inner Circle the other day, Steve, and I was really trying to make this point about where sales come from, about creating desire and value in your audience, and one of the things that just kept coming to mind was how important the Online Musician as a course is and especially this latest version 3.0 because people are like, “Well, she’s not going into Facebook advertising.” And I said, “That’s exactly what you need right now because she’s taking out those shiny objects that you’re going to get fixated on because you could figure out everything you needed to know about the Facebook Ad Manager and all the special software and retargeting applications and all of the gory details of the stuff that’s in the Elite program, and still not sell a thing because you didn’t get the fundamentals down about what really creates sales.” Because I told them, I said, “Technique and technology is not the thing to be fixated on because those come in to help you scale what’s already working.”

49:02 Steve: Right, and we are not about tricks and tactics. That’s not our USP, our unique selling proposition like there are others out there I know of, and their thing is, oh, what’s the fad in the market right now? Oh, it’s Instagram this, or it’s Facebook ads. Here, how to sell 100 albums in two days with blah, blah, blah. Well, that’s a tactic, and that will get you exactly that, one day of sales and then you’re done.

49:34 CJ: That’s right.

49:35 Steve: So, you better have a foundation in place, especially if you want this to be long-term. If you want to make your living this year, next year, and the year after that until the day you die, you better work on the foundation.

49:47 CJ: That’s what the Online Musician 3.0 … it is a very, very powerful foundation, man. Me and my son Aaron, my other one, we help to put the videos and things together and the slides and all of the stuff for the Online Musician 3.0 and it just so-

50:06 Steve: It looks amazing.

50:08 CJ: Great job, Aaron, right?

50:09 Steve: Great job, Aaron.

50:11 CJ: It just so reiterated to me the importance of what you just said, Steve, about the foundation. You have to understand how to sell online. You have to understand the psychology of why people buy. It’s not a technique as Steve said, it’s not a tactic as Steve said, it is literally creating desire in people through a personal relationship. That’s why social media is such a game-changer, guys. There was internet marketing before Facebook, but you were relying upon people coming across you from Google searchers.

There would be no Leah if we were relying upon Google searches. Without the ability to go direct to your ideal fan, your super fan, without discovering them through social media, you couldn’t do this that we’re talking about. So, social media is the game changer, so learning about this … social media means you’re dealing with people, social media. Media means broadcasting, broadcasting from person to person instead of from your television or newspaper or what have you.

51:10 Steve: Relationship.

51:11 CJ: Relationship building, culture building, lifestyle building, that’s what creates the sale. In fact, you should be able to create such a great relationship with your ideal fans via social media and email that they’ll buy cat food from you even though you make music. In other words, when they know you, when they like you, and they trust you, they’ll pretty much buy whatever because they’ll see the fact that you’re drinking something in particular, and they’re like, “Hey, what’s that you’re drinking? I’d like to get that too.”

I see this all the time. If there’s something I happen to have, not even thinking about it, just a cup I have, they’re like, “Hey, where’d you get that cup?” Or for years, people would just say … they’ll ask me on a post that’s unrelated to sales about anything, I’m just adding value to their life through a post, and they’ll write in, “Hey, do you happen to have any t-shirts?” Or, “Hey, do you have a book?” They’re going to ask you what you have to sell, and so that’s not-

52:10 Steve: They’ll be looking.

52:11 CJ: That’s not paid traffic. That doesn’t happen because you understand the ins and outs of the Ad Manager or anything like that. So, what’s covered in the Online Musician? So, where do they go for that, Steve, to learn more about the 3.0?

52:23 Steve: I believe it is theonlinemusician.com.

52:23 CJ: Okay, so that’s your opportunity there. In fact, I think there’s still a … is there still a webinar that’s playing?

52:35 Steve: Yes, we have an evergreen webinar that’s playing, so you can go and watch the webinar and then go through that, and even that alone, go through the webinar. It’s free for goodness sakes, and take the notes like Leah tells you to and you will gain a lot out of that.

52:53 CJ: You’ll see the value of all of this.

52:55 Steve: Absolutely, that’s a good place to start.

52:59 CJ: And then lastly, what we’ve been doing, again, this past month has been the Inner Circle, and this is great because, Steve, this is weird because it’s for both novice and experienced. We got them both covered in there because as we were doing the Inner Circle, as it was done before, which was a downloadable, periodical and a membership thing where you can get some mini-tutorials and that sort of thing, but it wasn’t direct interaction, and so back in May we did this three-week pop-up Mastermind where it was live sessions, live workshop sessions in a private Facebook group and we got, what, close to 500 people from all over the world that signed up for that, and we had people after it was done writing in saying, “Where to from here?”

53:50 Steve: I want more of that.

53:51 CJ: I want more of that. I liked having my questions answered live, and so that was kind of the impetus for us changing what we would call, I guess, your 2.0 version of the Inner Circle where now that’s in a private Facebook group based on live video sessions each week, and because it’s question and answer and all of this, we’re able to take in the input from Elite students as well as people who might be new, so you’re going to learn the parlance, the language, all the lingo. You’re going to get all the fundamental type of ideas and you’re going to live, experience, and hear from Elite students and see what they’re doing.

So, we’re just scratching the surface right now. There’s so much we can push through the Inner Circle as well as tips, and tools, and books of the month, and so much recommended stuff that we can give you, and that’s right now … we just knocked off like $20. We could charge 97 easy for that thing. That’s a lot of information, bro.

54:50 Steve: Oh, man.

54:51 CJ: We knocked it down to $47. We just knocked it down $20 more for $27. If your music business and your life isn’t worth $27 … and plus, you get to deal with me.

55:03 Steve: Then, who wouldn’t want that, right?

55:04 CJ: Who wouldn’t want that? Some people are mentors, I’m your tormentor, which is again it brings in that … because I’m a motivational speaker, so you’re getting that motivational element. We deal with the mindset which is a huge part, Steve, hasn’t it been a huge part of what holds musicians back is the mindset?

55:20 Steve: That’s the biggest part, honestly. I’ve personally spoken to probably close to two or 300 musicians on the phone, long conversations, and that is the biggest hurdle that they all have is in their mindset, and that goes for everybody. That’s not just musicians, it’s anybody who is thinking of taking a bigger step or making a big decision in their life, it’s all mindset.

55:48 CJ: Exactly right. So, you’re going to get mindset, marketing, all of that for just $27 a month in the Savvy Musician Inner Circle, so you and I get to spend a whole lot more time together looking at what you’re doing and you can learn more about that at savvymusicianacademy.com/innercircle. Steve, we were threatening to have you on the podcast, you and I doing something probably a year ago.

56:15 Steve: I know.

56:16 CJ: It’s taken us this long, but Steve has become one of my favorite people and I trust him completely, and he’s been such a … not just a great friend, but a colleague and I’ve gleaned so much from both he and Leah and working with the Savvy Musician Academy, so it means a lot to me to have him on today, so bubba, thank you, man.

56:38 Steve: Thank you, it’s been awesome. I love it.

56:41 CJ: Give everybody’s best to Leah because I’m sure they all want to send their best, all the podcast listeners send their best. You get to tell Leah about that.

56:50 Steve: Will do.

56:51 CJ: But, ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much once again for joining me on the Savvy Musician Show. Do me a favor, and go right not, literally right now, and leave us a review on whatever your favorite podcast player is, Stitcher, Spotify, iTunes, write something nice, leave stars, as many as you can if they offer that. Why is this important? Twofold, number one, it’s what helps us in the rankings, so you can help another musician, confused, brokenhearted, frustrated, confused musician out there who doesn’t know what to do, you can help them find this podcast. If this podcast made a difference in your life, guess what it will do for someone else. That helps there, and secondly, we read your comments.

It is a huge form of encouragement to us, like I tell people. People ask me, “CJ, motivational speaker, what motivates you?” I say, “You want to motivate me, tell me how much I motivate you.” That’s how you motivate a meta-motivator, and it motivates us to know that your life has been changed. It motivates us to know that you’re moving forward in your music business. It motivates us to know that there’s someone out there who’s business is actually being transformed, that you’re finding direction in life and business.

Once again, we want to know. It builds us up, and helps us moving forward, and even if it’s a critical comment, that’s educational to us as well. We just don’t think there are any. Anyway, good to see you, guys. I will be back next week on the Savvy Musician Show, take care.

The entire music industry just changed overnight. Suddenly, every band and musician has had their live gigs canceled indefinitely. No one knows when live events are coming back, and when they do, the competition will surely be fierce. Artists are realizing they have to pivot quickly if they want to earn an income with their music. Musicians are now scrambling to figure out how to sell their music online. They need answers and they need them now.

If this is you, then discover our new Savvy Musician Inner Circle membership. It’s a private subscription based coaching group to help you launch and market your online music business fast. For one low monthly subscription, you’ll get live, weekly marketing instruction, plus tips, tools, news, updates, and your questions answered. It all takes place in a private Facebook group that I, CJ Ortiz, will be hosting and I’d love to help you build your online music business. To learn more, go right now to savvymusicianacademy.com/innercircle.

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

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

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

Key Points From This Episode:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

The Online Musician 3.0 — https://explodeyourfanbase.com

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

The Inner Circle — https:savvymusicianacademy.com/innercircle

Click For Full Transcript

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

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

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

01:39 CJ: We’re usually in a meeting.

01:42 Amy: Yes, yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

03:18 Amy: Everyone, yeah.

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

03:20 Amy: Yeah, yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

05:28 Amy: Yes.

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

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

06:36 Amy: Yeah.

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

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

06:53 CJ: And you can speak freely.

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

07:05 CJ: Just don’t use names.

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

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

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

09:24 Amy: Yeah.

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

09:29 Amy: Yeah.

09:29 CJ: You know what I mean?

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

10:08 CJ: Right, right.

10:09 Amy: Yeah. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

15:46 Amy: Did I answer it?

15:47 CJ: You just answered it.

15:48 Amy: Good.

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

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

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

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

17:07 CJ: Right.

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

17:48 CJ: I’ve said that too.

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

18:24 CJ: Right, right.

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

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

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

18:37 CJ: … critiqued or told that.

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

19:01 CJ: Right.

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

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

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

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

21:33 Amy: Mm-hmm.

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

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

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

22:33 Amy: Okay.

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

22:50 Amy: Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

26:33 Amy: Yeah.

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

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

27:12 CJ: Good question.

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

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

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

28:49 Amy: School.

28:49 CJ: Yeah.

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

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

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

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

30:55 CJ: Yes.

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

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

31:22 Amy: Yes.

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

31:28 Amy: Yes.

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

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

33:14 Amy: Yeah.

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

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

33:51 CJ: They do.

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

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

34:53 Amy: Yeah.

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

34:56 Amy: Yeah.

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

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

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

37:53 Amy: Like, what?

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

38:26 Amy: Yes.

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

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

38:52 CJ: Right.

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

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

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

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

40:48 Amy: Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

43:04 Amy: Yes, life.

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

43:11 Amy: Yeah.

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

43:28 Amy: Yes.

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

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

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

43:55 Amy: Okay, I will.

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

44:57 Amy: Yes.

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

45:03 Amy: Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

45:47 Amy: Yes.

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

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

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

46:49 Amy: Yes, I believe so.

46:51 CJ: Yes, so we have a …

46:52 Amy: Yeah.

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

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

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

47:12 Amy: My pleasure.

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

47:15 Amy: Tomorrow, yeah.

47:17 CJ: See you then.

47:18 Amy: Bye.

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

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

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

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

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

Key Points From This Episode:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

The Online Musician 3.0 — https://explodeyourfanbase.com

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

The Inner Circle — https:savvymusicianacademy.com/innercircle

Click For Full Transcript

00:21 CJ: Welcome to The Savvy Musician Show. This is CJ Ortiz. I’m the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. Thank you so much for being with me again today on this awesome podcast. If you are enjoying the episodes that we deliver here on The Savvy Musician Show, do me a favor and leave a review today on your podcast player: Spotify, Stitcher, iTunes, doesn’t matter where it is, please leave a comment, leave a good report, and as many stars as they’ll give you to click, because this helps other people like you, other musicians, to find this podcast. If it’s made a difference in your life, I’m sure you want it to help a fellow artist or musician, so do that for me today. It means a lot.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Episode #101: Life Update From Leah

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

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

Key Points From This Episode:

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


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

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

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

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

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

The Online Musician 3.0 — https://explodeyourfanbase.com

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

The Inner Circle — https:savvymusicianacademy.com/innercircle

Leah’s Business Instagram Account — https://www.instagram.com/realleahmchenry/

Click For Full Transcript

00:21 CJ: Welcome to the Savvy Musician Show. This is CJ Ortiz. I’m the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. So delighted once again to host this podcast. If you are getting something out of this weekly podcast, let me encourage you to do something for me today. Please go to your respective podcast player, whether iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify and leave us stars and leave us a great review because it helps other people to discover this empowering show. Also, we read your comments. We read your good reports. We want to hear from you. So do me a favor and do that today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Key Points From This Episode:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

The Online Musician 3.0 — https://explodeyourfanbase.com

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

The Inner Circle — https:savvymusicianacademy.com/innercircle

Anna’s Facebook Page — https://www.facebook.com/AniaBmusic/

Anna’s Website — http://aniabmusic.com/

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00:21 CJ: Welcome to The Savvy Musician Show. This is CJ Ortiz. I’m the branding and mindset coach here at The Savvy Musician Academy, blessed once again to do another one of my most favorite things to do on the podcast here, which is student interviews. And this is someone that I’ve actually worked with personally in the past. We did some branding work together last year, and what a positive spirit, such a hard worker. And I’m so delighted to have my dear friend, Anna, who I’m going to have her say her last name for you because even though she’s living in Spain, she hails from Poland. My dear friend, Anna, why don’t you tell everybody your last name?

01:00 Anna: Brzozowska. Good luck.

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

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

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

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

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

01:30 Anna: How do you write it?

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

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

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

01:57 Anna: Ania.

01:57 CJ: Ania.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

07:26 Anna: You have a different perspective. 

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

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

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

09:47 CJ: Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

15:44 Anna: Yeah. Exactly.

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

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

16:30 CJ: Yeah.

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

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

17:20 Anna: I’m still learning.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

24:13 CJ: Oh, yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

27:07 Anna: I’m happy about that too.

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

27:49 Anna: Yourself.

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

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

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

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

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

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

30:18 Anna: No. Don’t make me laugh.

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

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

30:35 CJ: Right.

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

30:43 CJ: Right. Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

32:33 CJ: Right.

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

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

34:11 Anna: Oh, yes.

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

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

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

36:04 CJ: Oh, wow. Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

39:26 Anna: You don’t.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

46:23 CJ: Yep.

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

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

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

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

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

47:06 CJ: Good.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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