Tag: podcast

Episode #085: Sister Brand Follow-Up

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

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

Key Points From This Episode:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

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

Mythologie Candles — mythologiecandles.com

Lora Hodges (Elite Student) — https://www.facebook.com/lorussmusic

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

Click For Full Transcript

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

03:49 Leah: Yeah.

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

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

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

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

06:41 Leah: Yeah, that’s right.

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

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

07:11 CJ: Right, sure.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

28:25 Leah: No, exactly.

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

28:28 Leah: No.

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

28:45 Leah: That’s right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

39:28 CJ: We’ll see you soon guys.

Episode #084: Creating A Sister Brand to Your Music

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

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

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

Key Points From This Episode:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

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

Mythologie Candles — mythologiecandles.com

Michael J. Arbogast (Elite Student) — https://www.facebook.com/TheNewRelics/

Click For Full Transcript

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

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

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

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

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

02:15 Leah: Yeah.

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

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

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

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

04:51 Leah: Wow. Productive.

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

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

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

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

06:25 Leah: That’s it.

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

06:31 Leah: Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

12:50 Leah: Yeah.

12:50 CJ: Right?

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

13:46 CJ: Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

16:48 CJ: Right. Yeah. Yeah.

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

16:56 CJ: Freebies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

25:21 CJ: Wow.

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

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

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

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

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

27:45 Leah: No.

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

27:53 Leah: Oh yeah.

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

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

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

29:20 CJ: Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Key Points From This Episode:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

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

Top 9 Marketing Metrics Reference Download — https://savvymusicianacademy.com/tribe/resources/

Andre Tempfer (Elite Student) — https://www.facebook.com/dretamashi/

Click For Full Transcript

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

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

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

01:15 Leah: Yep.

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

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

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

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

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

02:52 CJ: Wow.

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

02:57 CJ: Right.

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

03:00 CJ: Think about that.

03:01 Leah: Yeah!

03:02 CJ: A dollar a subscriber.

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

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

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

05:13 Leah: Yes.

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

05:43 Leah: That’s right.

05:45 CJ: It’s not a mystery.

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

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

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

08:02 Leah: You can measure.

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

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

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

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

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

11:37 CJ: Guilty.

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

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

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

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

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

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

14:51 CJ: Mm-hmm, yes.

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

14:54 CJ: Right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

18:19 CJ: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

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

18:25 CJ: Right.

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

19:04 CJ: That’s right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

23:40 Leah: No.

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

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

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

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

25:24 Leah: Absolutely.

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

25:46 Leah: That’s right.

25:46 CJ: And that’s just a year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

29:52 CJ: Wow.

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

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

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

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

31:42 Leah: Ouch!

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

32:08 Leah: Absolutely.

32:08 CJ: … in any given week-

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

32:11 CJ: Oh absolutely.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

36:43 Leah: Bye for now.

Episode #082: 2020 Annual Planning

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

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

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

Key Points From This Episode:

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


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

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

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

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

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

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

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

Map Your Music Year (PDF) — MapYourMusicYear.com

Marcella Puppini (Elite Student) — https://www.facebook.com/marcellapuppiniofficial/

Click For Full Transcript

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

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

00:37 CJ: Aren’t we both happy?

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

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

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

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

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

02:47 CJ: Mother’s love.

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

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

03:41 Leah: That’s right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

04:33 CJ: It’s a lot of money.

04:34 Leah: It really is. Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

07:17 CJ: Right.

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

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

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

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

08:46 CJ: Right.

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

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

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

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

10:33 CJ: Right.

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

10:50 CJ: Right.

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

11:40 CJ: Right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

16:02 Leah: Yeah.

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

16:16 Leah: Yeah.

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

16:23 Leah: We’re not stressing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

20:50 CJ: Right.

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

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

22:14 CJ: Right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

26:12 CJ: Sure. Yes. Absolutely.

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

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

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

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

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

27:32 CJ: My man. My man.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Key Points From This Episode:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

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

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

Rob Hulford — https://www.robhulfordshop.com

Click For Full Transcript

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

08:12 CJ: Right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10:14 CJ: Right.

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

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

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

10:32 CJ: Right.

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

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

11:05 CJ: Right, wow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

13:17 CJ: Yeah.

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

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

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

14:10 CJ: Right.

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

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

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

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

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

16:17 CJ: Right.

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

16:39 CJ: Right.

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

17:05 CJ: Wow.

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

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

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

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

18:12 CJ: Mm, right, that’s powerful.

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

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

19:11 CJ: Yeah.

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

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

19:28 Rob: Great question. And funny enough, I’ll answer that. My view was, I wanted the sale, okay? I was a little bit averse to putting all the right effort, or the channelled effort, into getting that sale. I lacked the knowledge on how to leverage that sale, leverage the money from the people, ask people to pay for my music, okay? This is one of the strong points of the course. It teaches you how to feel confident enough to trust in what you produce, to ask other people.

Now, I’ve been using Drip religiously, and it’s really helped me a lot. And I actually was sending, at one point, I was sending out an e-mail every day, and guess what? I got paid every day, every time I sent an e-mail out, I had about five people going and buying our music.

20:14 CJ: Wow.

20:15 Rob: And sure, I got a 5% unsubscribe rate, but these guys were never going to buy my music in the first place.

20:20 CJ: Exactly.

20:21 Rob: They just weren’t going to buy it. So all that did, it got rid of the chaff or the people that were with no interest in me. And the people who wanted to listen to it, the people who were waiting for my deal, for my bundle, were just getting feeds. And if they missed the e-mail, like most people do, they picked up the one in a few days later.

So that, to me… Without a doubt, I could draw a graph, or a graph, showing every time I sent an e-mail, in came 200 bucks, every day, without fail. And when it didn’t. And that is just one very simple cog of the whole bigger picture. And let me tell you something, and I was talking to Megan about this, that I’ve been taking 200-250 bucks every day, without selling any merch at all.

21:00 CJ: Wow.

21:00 Rob: For music.

21:00 CJ: That’s good.

21:02 Rob: And I’ve got an e-mail list of about 1,500 people. So I’m quite happy with that. I’m going to revisit the merch aspect of my shop because I know that the survey I sent out was all about jewelry, and I found it very difficult to source that, but now, I’ve got a solution to that. So that’s in the pipeline, and that’s only going to enhance things for the future.

But in terms of selling, I think that we have a right to be paid for what we do. We’re not… There’s a school of thought amongst a large section of society that believes music is for free. Streaming overtook CD sales about 20 years ago, and it’s still very popular. But everyone’s entitled to be paid. The amount of effort you and I and the other students put into their work… I was working 15 hours every day, for about six months, and at one point, I was getting 20 cents a day, okay?

21:55 CJ: Wow.

21:55 Rob: So that motivates me to get my money back. I want my money for what I’ve done, and because I’m confident in the music I produce, and I love it, in what I do, and others do, it’s just the case of asking people to buy your music, okay? And the course prepares you for that, yeah. To be fair, I’ve listened to all the other, or most of the other students in the group, and the quality of the music that these guys are producing is exceptional. I’d buy it. I’m buying CDs off the fellow who was in the group because it’s exceptional.

22:25 CJ: Right. Yeah, I’ve made a note of that recently. It’s just the, part of the reason why people will buy your music is because they’ll learn to know, like and trust you. That’s the social media element, getting to know your people. Because the same thing happens within the group. Because I get to know you guys, right, on coaching calls, and all of that. Even genres of music that may not be something that I’ve listened to before, but because I got to know you guys, I want to get the music. And there is that element in there.

And I really hope, Rob, that people heard what you just said. Because it was so, it’s so dead on with what can potentially happen, because there is the potentiality, the fear of rejection. And an artist who’s maybe averse to selling and afraid of that doesn’t want to feel like, that they will cheapen their art if they do that. And so, they’re worried if those 15 people unsubscribe because they sent out an e-mail advertising their new release.

No, Rob is right! Those people are never going to buy from you anyway. So get them off your list, it’s like, you go out and you want to have healthy vegetation, shrubbery and bushes, and these sorts of things, you have to trim, right?

23:44 Rob: Yeah.

23:44 CJ: You have to trim the shrubs, you have to take off the dead branches, get rid of the stuff that inhibits growth. And the more you do that? The more, the better, more resilient your list is going to be, the more the servers and things are going to push your e-mails to the main mailbox of your audience.

It all works together, and once you understand this, again, like we just said earlier, it’s a tremendously empowering thing, because, to hear Rob… You say that yourself, is, “Am I going to settle for this amount of sales per week? Or am I going to go, two times, four times, 10 times, what I’ve done?”

24:23 Rob: Yeah. I think one of the, my biggest challenge is, and it’s not a problem that wasn’t an issue. It’s just the challenge is that we all get mental fatigue. Our brains have biorhythms that work in cycles. And you can work, you can do the same Drip plan, the same broadcast, the same campaign, week in and week out, but we experience fatigue. And when this fatigue sets in, that’s just when these little doubts creep into our mind.

And this is, again, that’s when all this, the coaching calls that we have, Suzanne or yourself, or the mentors who actually say, “Look. Just take a breather. Go back to your creative part of writing. When you feel good, go back to your marketing, when you get a surge of optimism, because it will surely come back.”

And I think, providing we have the support, which we do in the group, be it on a coaching call, and being in the forum, the Facebook page, we will get that spark back that says, “I want to press forward again.” And the reward surely follows. And the support we give each other, and I always try to do the same thing, I try to jump in the group and say to somebody, if they’re struggling, “Look, ask me a question. Let me tell you what I did.”

I posted an image of my sales the other day because I thought, it wasn’t a big-headed bragging matter for me. It was just to show other people, it could be done. Because I never thought I’d ever see it.

25:41 CJ: Yes. Right.

25:43 Rob: And I did, so if I can do it, I’ve only learned the same course everyone else has done, so it’s there for the taking.

25:49 CJ: Yeah, it’s true. If one can do it, certainly, others can do it. And again, this is, we’re talking to someone here who’s playing a unique form of music. It’s ambient style music, and I may not know how big a market that is, and all the things that are involved in that particular target audience. But there’s a lot of people on this planet, and there’s a lot of people out there, just like you, who like what you like, enjoy the topics that you like to talk about it.

And if that’s something you’re providing, on something like Facebook, on something like Instagram, people will gather and have that conversation with you, choose to follow you, and eventually buy your music. And this is great. But you know what? Like you said, Rob, you haven’t even really gotten into the merchandise element yet, which can obviously bring such an added bonus to all of this, especially if that merchandise is reflective of the culture.

You mentioned doing some jewelry. And I can imagine, there’s just all sorts of things again under your particular genre that you could explore.

26:55 Rob: Our music, it will form like Leah kind of applicants in the course. And I allow people the option, foolishly, to suggest otherwise, items they’d like to see in my store. So I’ve got about 70 or 80 different options.

27:08 CJ: Oh, my goodness!

27:09 Rob: Yeah, but crystal jewelry, crystal bracelets, came on at about 50% or 60%. And I think Daniel Coates is one of your other students, and he and I talk quite a lot, and he’s on the money. He knows what he’s doing, so…

27:21 CJ: Yeah.

27:22 Rob: I’m going to try to promote him in the UK when he comes over from Australia to tour, and he has sourced me a silver sphere, out in Barley, where he lives, to manufacture jewelry at a dollar a bracelet, which I can sell for 15 bucks here.

27:34 CJ: All right.

27:35 Rob: So again, I would never have met him through my everyday life. It was through associating with students here, and this is really important, that we… To be successful, you need to use every resource that there is available to you. And it’s helped me, and it’s going to help me a great deal more in the future.

27:51 CJ: It’s a daunting idea that the artist would have to do all of this themselves because the record labels used to handle all of this, their marketing department and what have you. But this is the greatest era for anybody in any kind of business because if marketing would have had the kind of tools available, via the Internet, social media, e-mail, et cetera, it would have been a much… The rules that govern marketing today would be completely different, the rules that govern copywriting today.

28:24 Rob: Yeah.

28:25 CJ: We talk about using certain words that sell. There are certain sales copy, words that you want to use, et cetera. Those are all based on traditional marketing. Well, traditional marketing was never able to sit across the table from somebody. It had to build some kind of trust within a couple minutes of you opening your mailbox. Now you’ve got social media, where you can develop it over time.

28:48 Rob: Well, this is so key, because you’ve picked me up a few times when my copy’s been a bit, kind of long-winded. And you’ve said, “Rob, take it from a paragraph, down to a sentence, and then to four or five words.” And I scratched around it, and over time, the more I did it, the better I got at it. And I got down to perfecting a six- or seven-word sentence in my Facebook ads, that people can read in one breath, and they just click. Or they just go to my landing page.

And this is an art. But the course teaches you how to do this, and these elements of the course, a bit, are all, each in its own right is a small piece. But you can have, something that’s 10 meters square. And each little piece looks nothing on its own, but when the picture’s complete, you’re in business. 

And as you say, the marketing aspect, the potential that’s there, if I can just divulge slightly, I found that testing the Facebook ads, the copy, but also the audience, is really key to turning things around, to actually just tweaking things. Look at your analytics, look at the people who are interacting with you. Take out the people who don’t interact with you.

Reduce your audience size to those who you know will buy your music, and who will talk to you. And all of a sudden, you’ll find that your cost per ad will just plummet, and you’re paying 10 cents a like, or 30 cents for an opt-in, or maybe 50 cents for a sales conversion.

All of this is experimentation, but it’s experimentation on the backing of the coaching, that we get in the course. And this is why, if you’re open, and you don’t get anxious about the pitfalls, your hype, your sales, your successes will follow very quickly afterwards.

30:32 CJ: Yes, it’s amazing, and I know you learned this yourself. Obviously, there’s so much information taught in the course, which makes people think, “Oh, it’s the information. It’s the information. I don’t have all this secret marketing knowledge that’s taught in Leah’s Elite course.”

But you also realize, through the course, just how much of an enemy you are to yourself. How much, the biggest hurdle that a lot of us have to get over, is our sales, our fears, our sense of overwhelm, the failure aspect, the getting knocked off course, broken focus, so much to learn, self-doubt, et cetera, et cetera.

These things, as I often tell people, “You could have great success with half the knowledge that Leah shares in the group if you just could get over yourself, and put yourself out there.” And that’s one of the things, Rob, that I really like about your approach to things.

You have put yourself out there. You haven’t held anything back, you haven’t just put your best self out there, you put everything out there, to the group, to the coaches. And man, that always leads to growth and advancement and progress.

31:41 Rob: But you know what, CJ? I want this, I want this more than anything I ever wanted in my life. Okay? And because I want it, it’s already happened. And that’s really important. And I, like I said, the encouragement we give each other in the group, and in the coaching course, is really, really important.

I can’t understate that we all have had certain influences in our life. We’ve all had a bad day, we’ve all got Christmas shopping to do, we’ve all got bad weather, we’ve got cars that don’t work. But it’s very easy to make excuses, for having to use mental focus as something that’s going to bring you reward, because when you’re troubled by various other aspects of your life which serve as detractors on what it is you really want to do, you have to have that focus, and that will to continue. And that’s one of the biggest tests in this life.

And I think that the coaching course, like yourself and Suzanne in particular, when we talk about that sort of thing, are those things after the cool people sit down and think, “You know what, Rob?” Or, “You know what, CJ? I need to do this.” And that everyone sees a turning point when that happens. And it’s that moment, it’s that breakthrough, where, when we have all blocks, that then allows you to carry on, and to make progress, and to boost your sales, if you’re selling, or to boost your knowledge, if you’re learning.

33:05 CJ: That’s amazing. As we’re recording this podcast, we’re just broaching the new year, and so much to look forward to. What, for you, what’s your target vision for the upcoming year?

33:20 Rob: I don’t know how long you’ve got, or if you’re going to regret asking me, but I’ll try and keep it concise. It’s very important for me, to be informed, to have the knowledge that I need to make the right decisions, to not waste time, and to channel my efforts into what’s going to serve my music well for the future, and serve me well financially, as a business owner.

And it’s very difficult to project forward 12 months, what I’d like to do because I’ve been doing the maths on whether, if I’ve got 1,500 e-mails now, and I have 15,000 e-mails in a year’s time, whether I’m going to have 10 times the income. Probably not, because we have other releases.

But in a couple of sentences, for me, for 2020, more of the same, two more albums coming out. I plan to apply the course ruthlessly in the way I’ve done so far. I’d like to be part of the group actively, on a regular basis so that we can share in the group’s success. That’s actually important to me too.

Because you never know, down the road, whether I’m going to call on Megan to come and sing with me, or Fessen, who I talk to, as well. She plays the harp. I’m going to have her on one of my albums because she’s only miles away. I can drive down there, and I can record it. And this is a beautiful experience we’re all having here.

34:38 CJ: Yes.

34:39 Rob: My music will grow, my sales will grow tenfold, ideally, and the love and the connection with the rest of the group will flourish. And I look forward to it, big time, and continue to work with you guys.

34:50 CJ: Wow! Outstanding. Well, this is why these interviews are just so awesome. And, as I’ve said to the other students that I’ve done an interview with, the joy, for me, and I know I speak for Leah, as well, is that we get to have this front-row seat to watch this happen for all of you.

Because I remember, I’ve known Leah for years. I remember when she wasn’t a marketing expert. I remember when she didn’t know anything about marketing, and they were struggling financially. Her story is true. It’s not exaggerated, it’s not something that’s inflated, it’s absolutely true. I remember when they were struggling bad, financially, I remember when she didn’t know anything.

And it seems like I turned my head, and turned back around, and suddenly, she was climbing up the charts, so to speak. She was making progress, and it was just an upward trajectory from that time. And she paid the price. She went before the musicians, and she invested thousands of hours, and thousands and thousands of dollars herself, and then put together this type of thing, specifically for musicians, and she’s narrowed that down.

But even still, with all the course material that’s involved, there’s so much. And so, every student has to go at his or her own pace, but as you’d noted, Rob, there is so much support, and so much strength and knowledge and insights, and just the answer that you might be looking for is being shared in the News Feed. I think it’s wise that you go on that News Feed daily, and just scan it for-

36:31 Rob: Sure. I would say that, I mean, Leah’s been one mentor throughout. She has the same mindset. She’s a very strong thinker and so am I. And I’ve found a lot of solace in the fact that she’s been through what she has, and she’s put down a concise and summarized script of all her experiences so that we don’t have to go through the grief and the pain.

Certainly, I wouldn’t be where I am now, and who knows? If you’re going at a much slower pace, and after a year, you sell 20 CDs, are you more likely to give up? Possibly you are. If you’ve had somebody come along and sweep the crap out of the way, so that you’ve just got a framework to employ and use in your business, so you become more successful quicker, than that’s a massive help, like I said.

One of the promises I made myself is, I will make and more sell records than Leah will. I’m going to make more money than her.

37:24 CJ: I’m sure she would welcome that, yeah.

37:26 Rob: Yeah, I know. I’m very driven, and I owe it to her, and to Steve, and to all of you amazing guys here for what I’ve been able to achieve so far. But if that’s the mountain, I’m the first couple of steps up. But there’s only one way, and that’s up, is for me.

37:45 CJ: Awesome. How can people learn more about you? I’ll include this in the show notes, but for those who are just listening, tell the people how to reach you.

37:51 Rob: I’ve got a shop online, it’s robhulfordshop.com, so it’s www.robhulfordshop.com. You can go on there, you can listen to my music on there, there’s a couple of videos playing excerpts from all of my albums. If you want some free tracks, just pop me a message in the forum, or message me on Messenger, and I’ll send some music over to you.

I’m a big advocate of giving stuff away, CJ. And if I can just mention this, finally, that, never allow generosity to get in the way of sales. Because, in the digital world, a digital download is free. And you can flood the world with your music, if you do it wisely, and you share it, and the goodwill that goes, it’s shunted about into the universe, is karmically returned to you, in time.

Because if nothing else, those people you’ve shared your music with, will come back looking for you, once they’ve listened to it and enjoyed it.

38:45 CJ: That’s excellent.

38:45 Rob: So yeah, I’m there to give away tracks for you guys to listen to, if you want to support me and buy a CD, and buy the music, too. That would be grand, fantastic. But like I said, www.robhulfordshop. Not Rob Halford-

38:58 CJ: Right.

38:58 Rob: Robhulfordshop.com.

39:00 CJ: Yeah, that’s H-U-L-F-O-R-D, shop.com. robhulfordshop.com So, Rob, thank you so much again for being with us. And I know I’m going to see you very soon in the group.

39:13 Rob: Yeah, sure, absolutely. It’s been a pleasure, CJ.

39:16 CJ: And so, again, for all you listeners, please leave us a review. We thank you so much for your support.

If you’d like to get started with something, with Savvy Musician Academy, maybe you’re not ready for the Elite program, maybe you’re not ready for the TOM course, The Online Musician, you can join our Inner Circle Membership.

You can learn more about that at savvymusicianacademy.com. Less than $20 a month, you get plenty of great content, which will begin to teach you, everything from this terminology we’re using, and all the tools and motivation, and marketing principles and tips and methods, to marketing, things that you can implement right away, plus a mini-course.

You get that each in the Inner Circle Membership. Go to savvymusicianacademy.com today. Learn more about the Inner Circle Membership, and I will see you guys in there.

Episode #080: An Interview With Jacqueline & Augustus of The Galaxy Electric (Elite Students)

We have all types of musical genres represented in our Elite students at the Savvy Musician Academy, and some of these genres are so unique that you can assume there’s no audience for them. Not true, and our special guests in this episode are proof of that!

Jacqueline and Augustus of The Galaxy Electric are a fun musical duo whose niche “cosmic tape music” has a dedicated following of like-minded fans who celebrate both the music and the culture that surrounds it. And it’s this understanding that’s empowering The Galaxy Electric to carve out their place in the new music industry. You’re going to love this discussion!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • The biggest hurdle for an independent artist.
  • The importance of digging into your audience and culture.
  • How they found their sound.
  • How things changed when they joined Elite.
  • No creative limits to any niche.
  • The importance of knowing your strengths.
  • Changing the way you see social media.
  • Getting past the fear of rejection.
  • Maximizing Facebook Groups.


“I would say the biggest hurdle is figuring out exactly who you are as an artist.” — The Galaxy Electric [0:04:36]

“We connected deeply with a very small group of people who encouraged us kind of to keep going.” — The Galaxy Electric [0:11:55]

“We haven’t been talking to people, we’ve been talking at people. That is not how you build a relationship.” — The Galaxy Electric [0:20:02]

“Staying on the app and having conversations and that’s ultimately what Facebook wants.” — @metalmotivation [0:25:20]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

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

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

The Galaxy Electric — https://www.facebook.com/thegalaxyelectric/

Click For Full Transcript

00:19 CJ: Well, welcome to the Savvy Musician Show this CJ Ortiz, the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. Once again, get the privilege to interview some of our Elite students in the Savvy Musician Superfan System Elite program. If you’ve heard the previous interviews with Karen and Lindsay, you know what a treat it is to kind of be a fly on the wall, to hear from students who are just really proficient musicians in and of themselves, but what they’re learning and growing in as far as marketing is really remarkable.

Because we are at this very unique time in history where what was created by Napster, if you want to call it a problem back in the end of the 20th century, still dealing with today, although now it’s evolved into the streaming services and all of that. How do musicians find a career? How do they sustain themselves? So much has changed. The labels are suffering, so Leah has paved a way forward. You guys know that. So I’m excited today to have two people who’ve I’ve already had a chance once again to work with on a coaching call. It’s Jacqueline and Augustus from the Galaxy Electric. Guys, welcome to the Savvy Musician Show.

01:34 Jaqueline: Thank you so much for having us. It’s a real honor.

01:34 Augustus: Yeah, thanks for having us.

01:37 CJ: These guys are really cool. I’ve met with them before in one of my branding coaching calls and those are really great because it’s when you talk about the essence of what something is not just about the mechanics and that’s always fun and you’re learning a lot of mechanics in Leah’s program, all of the buttons to push and the software to use. But I think you guys even realized just how much this, who you are, what you’re about, who your audiences plays, the culture and all these sorts of things plays such a huge role really with you guys. Because you guys are totally unique. One of the more unique musical talents in our group. So why don’t, let’s start there. Let’s start out with what is Galaxy Electric? How did you guys come together to do this? Tell us about the genre and the culture.

02:24 Jaqueline: That is always fun to talk about. It’s definitely been a journey because we started in LA very much in the old music industry model. We wanted to make a record. We thought, “You have to make a record and then you have to get signed and then you have to tour.” And so we really focused on that and making a record that we thought we could get signed with. So that was kind of our starting point. We had been making music together for a long time, but this project, the Galaxy Electric started because we really wanted to make an album that we thought, “This is what we want our sound to be. This is what we think we can tour with.” Not that we don’t love the style of music we make, but that was really where our heads were at and we, lots of twists and turns along the way.

We recorded in a studio with a full band making what I guess would be called psychedelic pop focused on songwriting. I was really involved with songwriting groups in LA. That’s a very big thing. How many songs can you write in a day? Can you get them published? Can you get them out there? Can you get somebody else to sing them? That kind of thing. So that was where my head was at. And Augustus was playing bass with another band that was touring. So we were really in this kind of scene, we’re kind of like soaked in it. And I think our sound came a lot from being involved with so many other artists in this sort of, I guess the psych-rock scene was like really happening in LA.

03:52 CJ: Well, break that down a little bit just so obviously, I mean I’ve heard your music and what, so I get what it is and it should be understood readily by the terminology. But I mean it really, I mean from the way you guys dress to everything, I mean it really is a very specific vibe. So break it down just a little bit for those who may not be familiar.

04:13 Jaqueline: Sure. And this has been a lot of what we’ve learned from the course, having to do our artist identity work. It was always there, but-

04:22 Augustus: We thought we knew. We thought we knew exactly who we were, but we started the course, we realized like, “Whoa, we-

04:29 CJ: Isn’t that great?

04:30 Augustus: There’s a long, long way to go before we know. And we’re still tweaking it, honestly. Like that is, I would say the biggest hurdle is figuring out exactly who you are as an artist.

04:42 Jaqueline: When you want to say like, “I’m undefinable.”

04:44 CJ: Yeah.

04:48 Jaqueline: Floated in space with, “I’m not tethered to anything.” But yeah, through our work with you just digging more into our work with the course we have called ourselves cosmic tape music-

05:01 CJ: Very cool.

05:03 Jaqueline: Which is in reference to our love of retro sci-fi, psychedelia and our explorations of the space age and early electronic music that was being developed during that time. And-

05:18 Augustus: Using the studio as the instrument. Like letting sort of the tape recorder if you will, inform the music. And kind of treating the tape recorder as if it’s a member of the band.

05:30 CJ: Wow. Well, let me ask you something about that because it’s so easy for people to dismiss something as a shtick or a trend or that sort of thing. So when you guys look back on what you referred to as this space-age, what did you call it? The musical aspect, you said it was a particular-

05:51 Jaqueline: Music and… Yeah.

05:53 CJ: So I’m like, I’m not familiar with that, so I can only guess at what that is. But what is it about that that appeals to you and what do you think was a secondary thing that appeals to you? What is it about the artists at that time that intrigues you?

06:09 Jaqueline: Well, this all stemmed from what we call retro-futurism or what we’ve studied as retro-futurism, which is a nostalgia for the future that the past was developing.

06:21 CJ: Right, right.

06:22 Jaqueline: So sort of lost futures.

06:24 CJ: Right.

06:24 Jaqueline: And then that’s pretty exciting and emotional and there’s a lot to dig into there.

06:30 Augustus: Like the World’s Fair, like the ’60s.

06:34 CJ: Right. So people who are engaging in genuine future trending and that sort of thing, what was going to come about that may not have developed. Some were actually pretty scary. They were dead on about the internet and things like that. People reading newspapers on computer screens and all of that. They were dead on. This is like in the 60s but yeah, like the World’s Fair. There’s that… So you guys are like looking back at those and saying what if?

06:59 Jaqueline: Yeah, sort of like, what if we did all get jet packs and we were all able to do the space travel thing and like live like the Jetsons. You know what if that did happen, what’s the soundtrack for that?

07:12 CJ: Right.

07:13 Augustus: What’s the soundtrack, we still have flying cars, unfortunately.

07:18 CJ: That’s right. Yeah. What did I see recently? There was a, as of something date, I think we just passed it. We have officially moved past the year that Blade Runner had and the movie. So yeah, so a lot has not developed. And of course, a lot has, but there’s nothing, there’s nothing really romantic and creative about the time in which we live. If anything we’re seeing kind of more… I saw in fact I saw today a little headline a little while ago about that people are now having more digital conversations than they are physical conversation. I don’t know how they measure that, but I could see how that would certainly be the case. And it’s not anything creative. Yeah. We get creative with our little memes and our little texts and our little emojis but that’s the extent of it.

You guys are saying, no, no, no, no, no. Let’s, they had a romantic vision back then. You know what I mean? It was a, they were a creating a painting in what they were projecting. And so how do you stumble on, because I can see the fascination with that. I could see the creative opportunities that just opens a door that like nobody’s really addressing, gets you beyond the sappy love song gets you beyond the breakup thing or whatever. And takes you into a whole different space. And I think that’s just so interesting. How did you guys stumble on that?

08:42 Jaqueline: Well, we were always using like analog synthesizers and cassette recorders and Gus can speak to this more.

08:52 Augustus: Well, I was just going to say that the soundtracks and the films that we know of from the sci-fi genre, you had to use these tools to create things that literally don’t exist in the world as we know it. So for example, if you like take the sound of a synthesizer and you record it to a tape machine and you speed it up double like it’s going to sound like alien chatter. Like it’s going to be a sound that you couldn’t, that doesn’t even exist without manipulating the audio in that way. And so I think the inspiration for the music that we make is sort of like watching these films, listening to the soundtracks and sort of paying special attention to the things that seemed out of this world about the art and kind of like saying like, “What if we made pop songs that had that in there?” Like that’s kind of…

09:57 CJ: I’ll tell you, that’s one of the fun parts about participating in the Savvy Musician Academy is because it’s not just a country artist, a rock artist, a pop artist, a heavy metal band that’s there. It’s these guys like you. From what you guys are doing to pure ambient instrumentalists to you name it. And it’s just this smorgasbord of talent. And it’s so interesting for me and I keep telling people when I’m advising them on the social media thing. For example, we talk about the know, like, and trust element. But one of the things that came out of this was when you get to know somebody, and it may not be your musical genre for example, but you get to know them as people. Maybe spend an afternoon with them at a barbecue or go out and see them live or something.

And it may not be your genre music, but because you got to know them and because you saw them and you heard them, you’re like, “You know what? I’m going to listen to their music.” So I might not listen to anything else in that particular genre, but I’ll listen to the galaxy electric because I know them. And when, so this has to be a fascinating thing for you to say because you got to be saying to yourself, “Okay, well we know some other people like us who are into this sort of thing, but how do we find people around the world that are into this thing?” I mean, is there enough people interested in for us to do what Leah’s saying we could possibly do? So this has to be, once this program kind of opened up to you was like, “Oh wow, here’s a way to do this.”

11:32 Jaqueline: Absolutely. I think especially coming from the touring side of things and the traditional, record industry model that we were chasing, we found a small, I would say micro, micro-niche group of people that was sort of like, “Oh okay, they’re out there.” So we connected deeply with a very small group of people who encouraged us kind of to keep going.

12:02 CJ: Right.

12:02 Jaqueline: And once we found Leah’s course and we’ve done a few of them now, and especially with elite, it’s on another level. Like I never could have imagined. We have been able to kind of break that open. And you’re right, it is people. We’re based in the U.S. There’s definitely a contingency in the U.S. but it’s more in the international waters that we [crosstalk 00:12:31].

12:31 CJ: That’s just so great. And I’m so happy for artists like yourself because now you have this possibility, you have this opportunity. Obviously it takes a lot and any of us can always drop the ball. We have the principals, we have the coaching but that doesn’t mean we’re not, we’re going to do the work. And of course, I see a lot of students who don’t, they don’t do the work, they don’t follow through. They don’t… Because there’s nothing but resistance on every front. Because like you said, you’re still figuring out who you are as an artist and you’re still figuring out the audience, still figuring out the culture. So there’s all of that. But it’s because we remove labels. We removed the traditional method of doing things. So now all of this is falling back on us.

And we have now the onus to have to be the marketing department and the creative department and the whatever. But that’s fun too. And oftentimes when I’m talking to artists like yourself, I love to highlight the fact that because what you’re doing is so unique and has a very specific culture and so much creative stuff, resource to draw from, you have so many more options that the average musical artist is not even thinking of. For example, you guys can blog, you guys could podcast, you guys could write pulp fiction, you guys could do any number of things to create opt-ins, to create great content for people to kind of build up that culture where the music is just a part of it.

Where you’re not, the music doesn’t have to carry the burden but because you’re bringing people in and giving them all this creative resource, they’re like, “I just love following those guys.” And they get to know you and buying the music is just a byproduct because one of the things that I see with some of the students is that they feel like, “Okay, great. I like what Leah’s doing and I feel like this could possibly work.” But they’re still in this mind trap of thinking, “Okay, I’ve got to do all this other stuff, the social media and the engagement and this and that, so that they’ll buy the music.” So they already don’t want to sell their music.

14:38 Jaqueline: Right.

14:38 CJ: You know what I mean? They’re creatives. They don’t want to sound like a car salesman. They don’t want to have to do that. Of course, Leah’s like past that, right Leah will sell the heck out of that stuff. But for a lot it’s just, it’s a struggle. We don’t want to do that. We just want people to say, “Well, if they like it, they’ll come buy it.”

14:54 Jaqueline: Yeah. I’d love if that were the case.

14:55 Augustus: Yeah.

14:56 CJ: But it’s a lot easier for you guys to come out from behind the mixing board and, or in your case, the tape player and get behind the microphone and say, ‘We’re going to preach about this culture. We’re going to preach about this retro-futurism. We’re going to preach and share with you guys and have fun with this creatively.” And then that endears people and the natural byproduct is they’re going to buy the music. And I haven’t been able to mention that in any of the interviews. And you guys have really given that opportunity because what you’re doing is just so unique and so off the beaten path, but it just goes to show how like as Leah said, “How many do you really need to finance a music career?”

It’s really not that much. She says a thousand super fans, right? Spending about a hundred dollars a year. So for you guys, I mean, I can see you coming up with trinkets little, I mean, just cool stuff that kids would have bought in 1965, you know what I mean? That would’ve been given to them. Little things in a stocking stuffer, the little spaceships and what have you. So yeah, I mean from a creative standpoint, there’s just so much that you could do. Tell me, when did Leah come on your radar? Because it all started with an ad, I’m sure, right?

16:22 Augustus: Yeah.

16:22 Jaqueline: You got it.

16:22 Augustus: Yeah, yeah. When did it happen? Like say three years ago-

16:29 Jaqueline: I think it was about 2016, 2017 you actually saw her at-

16:34 Augustus: I did. Yeah. Yeah. She was appearing in my feed one day in between like my family and my friends. And her copy grabbed me and because of the fact that I think I had seen a video that was just sort of casually telling her story about being a mom and also being a musician who was able to sell a decent amount of records.

17:04 Jaqueline: And not having to tour. I remember you like-

17:06 Augustus: And not having to tour. And it’s sort of like-

17:08 Jaqueline: Chase me down about it.

17:09 Augustus: Yeah.

17:09 Jaqueline: “You got to see this. This is for you, this is what we got to do.”

17:14 Augustus: Yeah. I was very persistent about getting it in your hands because a lot of the work to me sounded, I know that we get a lot of like training through books and things that Leah recommends, but it seemed a little out of my zone of genius, like the day to day stuff.

And so I knew that if I could collaborate with Jacqueline on it, that together we could make it happen. And that’s very much been the case. And something I highly recommend to others is making sure that you recognize your strengths. As you go through the course you will sort of take these quizzes and things to figure out what your strengths are, what your weaknesses are and make sure that if you yourself, if you’re like a solo artist, don’t have all the tools that you are able to sort of outsource or find a friend or a relative or somebody that you can collaborate with to make sure you have the full package because it’s absolutely necessary.

18:13 CJ: Yeah.

18:13 Augustus: It’s needed, I think.

18:15 CJ: Well yeah, and there was a bit of a breakthrough. I remember Jacqueline right when you were going, I remember, it’s like you were going out the door to do something and-

18:27 Jaqueline: Oh yeah.

18:27 CJ: Tell us about that.

18:30 Jaqueline: I had been posting, following this idea of culture and trying to grow our sort of our social media presence. Trying to post every day or twice a day and things like that and not really seeing… I could have been one of those people you see all the time saying, “My organic reach is down, what am I going to do? Facebook hates me. They won’t show my posts to anybody.”

18:54 CJ: Right.

18:54 Jaqueline: I was complaining about all that kind of stuff because I’m doing the work, why isn’t it working? And then I think it was after one of our coaching calls when you talked about how, what does your feed look like? Does it look like a bunch of ads? Does it look like a bunch of things being sold to you? NO, it’s your friends talking about their day or your family saying they lost their dog, can you help or whatever. It’s like you’re having real conversations with real people you actually know.

And that completely changed my whole paradigm about what social media is for. And so I picked this random selfie, I don’t really take that many selfies.

19:28 CJ: Right.

19:28 Jaqueline: And I was like, “I’m going to try this.” Because I think Leah had said, “Just try a selfie one day.” She’ll throw challenges out like that. And I had found a selfie and I had my headphones in at the time. I must’ve been like feeling good that day. I was like about to go out the door with my headphones going to go for a walk and I asked people, “What music should I listen to while I’m walking? What’s good walking music?” And it just exploded with what recommendations people had and conversations that you get to have.

And so that was a real turning point for us because we realized, “Oh, we haven’t been talking to people, we’ve been talking at people.” That is not how you build a relationship.

20:10 CJ: No.

20:10 Jaqueline: And I think we had sort of a wall up of this fear of like, “What if they don’t like us?”

20:16 CJ: Right.

20:17 Jaqueline: “What if we start talking to people and they don’t like us?” So once I broke through that barrier, it’s where we’ve come from there is like-

20:29 CJ: That was several months ago, right? I mean, that was a while back.

20:33 Jaqueline: I mean, once we had that breakthrough. I mean we are making weekly videos where we’re talking to people. I mean it’s just-

20:43 Augustus: We started a Facebook group that was inspired yet again by the course called Cosmic Tape Music Club.

20:51 CJ: Cool.

20:52 Augustus: Yeah. It’s kind of a club and it’s a group and people post their favorite cosmic tape music, whatever that is. You know what I mean? Like we kind of sort of like, you know define it-

21:01 CJ: We’re all defining it together.

21:05 Augustus: In the group. Yeah. Defining it as a group as we go. But like, so people are sharing, the group’s 800 strong now.

21:11 CJ: No way.

21:11 Augustus: We started it maybe like four months ago, five months ago.

21:14 Jaqueline: Yeah.

21:15 CJ: That is a good size group.

21:18 Jaqueline: It’s kind of overwhelming. When it took off, we were kind of in shock. We thought, “We’re going to start this group and…” Because we got to start a Facebook group. That’s a big part of it. You’ve got to build real relationships, right? Like that’s what we’re supposed to do, we’re going to follow the checklist and we’re to start a group. And then it just kind of exploded in a way that we didn’t expect because your regular Facebook feed, it does not have this kind of engagement.

21:42 CJ: Right.

21:43 Jaqueline: People in a private Facebook group are having, I mean they’re going deep in the comments with talking about this concert they went to when they were 12 and how their brother introduced them to this music. And they’re so glad there’s a place that they can talk about this weird stuff that they didn’t think anybody else was into.

21:59 Augustus: It’s their favorite group on Facebook.

22:01 Jaqueline: We’re just like, “What?”

22:01 Augustus: It’s their favorite band and yeah.

22:04 CJ: That’s wonderful.

22:05 Jaqueline: I feel this way, but all of you are here too now. So yeah.

22:09 Augustus: And then we started, so this of course once again, the teaching and everything in the course. Like it’s coming to us and we started doing weekly conversations where we’ll like take posts from group members and kind of do deep dives. Like we do like our own little live stream podcasts where we like basically deep dive on members’ posts because it’s like stuff that a lot of people don’t know. They may know like this, they may post about one artist, but they don’t know the backstory as to like how they got into doing what they do. And so we kind of like take it a step further. We turn the post back around on the member. We’ll basically say like, “Hey, this is about you, for you.” Like it’s never about our own posts. It’s about our members’ posts.

23:00 CJ: Isn’t that amazing? How that, and it’s, I don’t want people to think this is just a technique. I mean it is just human psychology. Everybody wants to talk about themselves. But I know that you guys mean it and it’s about things that are very meaningful to these people. And it does endear them to you even more so.

23:24 Jaqueline: We find that, much like ourselves, like we say in all of the teaching that, “You’re probably your fan of your own music.” We are pretty introverted and we don’t do a lot of commenting on Facebook. That’s, we’re sort of voyeurs. So this is a way to be like, “It’s okay. Come on out everybody, we’re in a safe space. We can have this conversation.” And then once you kind of, we’ve been cultivating this for a while and seeing just how much the sort of quality of what people are posting in the group has increased. And like it’s more conversational now and less people just posting a pretty picture or a link or whatever. We’re trying to cultivate not just relationships between us and maybe our fans, but also what feels like a family. In this, like you said, this digital world where people are having digital conversations, we want it to feel authentic.

24:25 CJ: Yeah. That’s where the private Facebook groups really help. It’s funny when you said that “safe space,” I thought well that’s just, it’s, obviously that that term gets loved and hated. But as soon as you said that I could see it in retro-futuristic fashion. Safe space.

24:41 Jaqueline: Yes. Yes, exactly.

24:43 CJ: You guys are just pushing,” Hey, this is our safe space, literally.”

24:47 Augustus: Good point, yeah. It’s definitely not just a tactic. It’s like Jacqueline said, it’s really, I would say it’s my favorite place to hang out and have a conversation on Facebook now that we’ve created it. Like for the reason of it being all of our favorite stuff to talk about.

25:05 CJ: Yeah. You can see the logic of why. And Leah began to inform the group over a year ago that Facebook was moving towards groups obviously because it keeps people on the platform, right?

25:19 Jaqueline: Yeah.

25:20 CJ: Staying on the app and having conversations and that’s ultimately what Facebook wants. And so this is where the challenge is always for us as artists who are using it from a business standpoint to constantly be changing, constantly be adjusting, learning how to adapt whatever new changes are and whatnot for the purpose of ultimately getting our music and things out there. How do you feel like you’ve grown then from the sales stamp? And I’m not talking about just what sales you’re making, but as salespersons, the confidence or are you okay with it morally or does it keep you up at night and you’re like, “Oh I can’t believe I did that,” or how’s that going for you?

26:02 Jaqueline: Yeah, that’s a really good way of putting it. Because I think we had that mindset, right? You don’t want to push things on people. I, for a long time, wasn’t growing our email list because I didn’t want to bother people.

26:13 CJ: Yeah.

26:14 Jaqueline: All these same things you hear all the time, I’m sure. It is then kind of flipped on its head when it becomes, I am talking to one person and I know who that person is now and I’m having a conversation with them. And so it’s sort of a litmus test when I’m writing an email or a post when we’re working, I mean we work together on pretty much everything because our voice together is the voice that we converse with that if I’m reading it back to myself or we’re reviewing something that we want to post and it doesn’t feel personal or it doesn’t feel like something we would talk to a friend about or the way we would talk to them. It’s so obvious now and it doesn’t work.

27:03 CJ: Yeah.

27:04 Augustus: Yeah. If one slips through, it’ll be real obvious that we messed up on that one.

27:10 Jaqueline: It doesn’t work. We want to be talked to. So…

27:15 CJ: Yeah, there’s only one way to learn, right? And it’s funny because it’s not the same for everybody in every genre, in every…

27:24 Jaqueline: Right.

27:24 CJ: Like I’ve got a podcast I co-host with a super commando elite delta force guy, and he’s super popular on YouTube and he’s been on Joe Rogan’s show and he’s got 300 plus thousand people follow him on Instagram and all that. So we have the, it’s called the university of badassery. And well, the premise being about just kind of kicking your own butt so to speak. And so it’s kind of self-improvement kind of thing. But even on the, how you have a little pop-up opt-ins when people come to the website and click on anything, it pulls up the popup for the email list and it just says get your ass on our list. And people hit that thing constantly. We don’t give anything away, it’s not…

But because of that culture and they love the show so much and the whole attitude thing, you can say that. You can’t take that into necessarily what you guys are doing or what Leah is doing and say the very same thing because it would go over terrible. So it really does. I mean it, there’s so much you do have to learn and again, labels used to handle this, but even then they weren’t, it wasn’t to this level. They were just, they would prepare press releases and throw up some billboards and maybe you do signings in some record stores and you are relying upon radio airplay to get things done. Well, Galaxy Electric is good luck with that scenario, right? But under this new model with taking advantage of the technologies and the fact that people are connected.

And I do appreciate that you guys acknowledge that it’s, you’re just talking to a person. And that is so different for artists. I mean, I love the fact that I can follow guys from the bands I grew up with, Kiss and you name it, but there’s Paul Stanley posting his breakfast. So it’s just a strange time that we live that and sure that’s great. With the celebrities, they obviously can’t answer the 5,729 comments that are there, but you guys are. And so you’re building this super fans. You weren’t asking to play arena rock.

29:43 Jaqueline: Right.

29:43 CJ: Right. You weren’t asking to go on tour with whoever. It’s not that you’re opposed to it, but it’s like, “Listen, we want to write and play music and be creative. That’s what we’re here to do.” Right? That’s what, you came out of the womb that way. And I think it’s such a powerful thing now that you can now take advantage of this. So where do you see yourself and how long has it been you’ve been in the elite program?

30:06 Jaqueline: Oh gosh, it’s coming up on a year.

30:09 CJ: Okay. So I know you’ve done with the course, you got any of it-

30:12 Jaqueline: We have a little bit. We’re like right at the end with our move obviously that we were talking about.

30:17 CJ: Yeah, sure.

30:19 Jaqueline: It kind of took us out more than we were expecting. So we were right at the end and then we moved. And so we’re kind of getting back into finishing that. But there’s always so much that we keep going back through. So we’re kind of like, “Will we ever be done?”

30:35 CJ: You’re never done. You’ve never done. Because it’ll change and revise. I mean, just between you and me and the fence posts and everybody who’s listening. Leah’s been working on revising Tom, the Tom program, which is Tom 2.0 the online musician Tom for short. So Tom 3.0 will come out next year. We’re going to change the whole way it’s done. It’s going to be just available for like once or twice a year, that’s it. So not something that’s just evergreen, always available. And then also changes to the elite program. And also there is, it’s a constant need for growth because things are constantly changing and whatnot.

I said recently in one of these podcasts, I had read a short article, I forget what music magazine it was, but they were interviewing Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins and he said, “If I had 60 seconds to advise any musician today, I would say focus 100% on the internet.” He said, “Forget the bar down the street.” It’s just, he just, and that may be a bit extreme, but I think he’s right. I think you do have to look at it and you guys obviously took a huge step in investment to do this. Any regrets?

31:50 Jaqueline: Never.

31:53 CJ: It does pay for itself, doesn’t it? And I think that’s an important thing because I think people are reluctant to do what needs to be done and they feel like they can kind of piece… How would you, or did you even do this, where you felt like, “Okay, let’s try to piecemeal together something from the free YouTube videos and this podcast over here, this ebook, free ebook and [crosstalk 00:32:19]

32:18 Jaqueline: For years, yeah. We read every book and followed everybody who seems like they knew what was up. As we’re going through that tumultuous Napster timeframe.

32:33 Augustus: It’s not that we never received any good information. I mean, there’s tons of good info out there about making sure that you have, you focused on having fans at least. I mean that’s very basic [inaudible 00:32:47] but like making sure you have fans before you go pitch your stuff to some record label at least, even that information is pretty good. It’s like, “Hey, focus on having die-hard individuals that are willing to literally buy everything that you put out before you think you’re ready for anything else.”

33:07 CJ: Right.

33:07 Augustus: That was having a…

33:09 Jaqueline: That’s where the ego check happens. That’s phase one.

33:12 CJ: Yeah. I think what the beauty of what Leah did is that she was, she paid that price herself because she literally knew nothing when I first, because we’ve known each other since 2010, ’11 I think. And so I remember when she started. And I remember having a conversation with her and her and Steve was doing some construction work, her husband and they were facing bankruptcy. They didn’t have hardly anything and she didn’t know anything about marketing. Can you imagine Leah not knowing anything?

I talked to that Leah. I spoke to that Leah. And to see what she did and the price that she paid in time and she did all that. She was kind of trying to piecemeal it together from all of these things. And so she spent the thousands of hours and the thousands of dollars on coaches that weren’t, because there wasn’t anything in music that she could really follow. So she had to, it’s tough to be a pioneer. She had to be that pioneer. And so she kind of took from these things. It kind of chew the meat, spit out the bones. She got everything narrowed down to what will work for musicians.

And I think that was the breakthrough moment is it that get this is for musicians, this is not, we’re not taking a marketing course from somebody who talks to coaches or authors or what have you. It’s if this is specifically for musicians and proven. And so what I love about these opportunities, not just to do the coaching with one-on-one, but this interview format here is that it’s a reaffirmation and a confirmation that this is a workable path. We’re not there yet. We’re still early in the bell curve here and there’s still so many great things to happen. How do you guys feel about the upcoming year?

35:07 Jaqueline: We are like guns blazing. We’re very, very hopeful and we’ve got so many, like you said, like the deeper you get into this, the more ideas you get. Like you were talking about all the products we can have. And it’s like we have more ideas than there’s time in the day to really do them. And we still have so much of the course that we want to review, but we’re going to be launching new music and crowdfunding and testing out all of these principles and how they work with our niche and with our fans. And because I know at least for me, I have to be like pushed into the fire. I’m going to dance around it as long as I possibly can. And saying yes to the elite course was like throwing myself into the fire and we wouldn’t be, I wouldn’t have done and I wouldn’t have a shop. We wouldn’t have any of this if I hadn’t said yes to the course because it just pushes you.

36:06 Augustus: Kicks everything into overdrive.

36:08 Jaqueline: You think you can’t be pushed anymore. And it’s like, “No, no, you haven’t even started.”

36:15 CJ: Yeah, it’s, it really is amazing to watch. And like I said, I enjoy having this front-row seat to all of these very, very special and talented people like yourself working hard and everybody. And the, one of the great things about the elite program is that because of the price of entry you, it’s filled with just very serious people and everybody’s sweet, everybody’s humble, everybody’s mutually encouraging. You get so much support from… Have you had a lot of support from some of the other students and…?

36:43 Jaqueline: I would say that is one of the most invaluable aspects of the elite group is we know how serious we are about this and we know how hard we’ve worked. And to have that very small kind of private community that we know is moderated of other people who are just as serious, working as hard, sacrificing as much, caring and passionate about what they specifically do. And somehow, even though we’re all doing our own thing, we have so much in common and so much to share and so much support to give. I don’t think we would be able to do this without that sort of support group. It’s essential.

37:30 Augustus: Yeah, it’s so specific, the information that we’re digesting and so to be able to ask questions about extremely specific things. I mean like literally like, “Hey, what about this plugin on Shopify?” For someone to know exactly why we’d even care about that. It’s like, just so-

37:53 Jaqueline: Like how generous everyone is with their, you think people would be like, “Well, I figured this out. I’m not telling somebody else. I worked really hard to figure that out.” But everyone is so generous.

38:02 Augustus: Yeah, there’s no selfish attitude about-

38:05 Jaqueline: They’re like excited to share with each other.

38:07 CJ: Well, you guys are all, you’re kind of the first generation of what will be the norm.

38:14 Jaqueline: We hope so.

38:14 CJ: You really are on the ground floor of what will become the norm as more and more… This is where it expands beyond just the musicians. It gets into all from authors to filmmakers to you name it. As more and more people are doing things on their own, it’s DIY at a whole nother level. I mean, I stumbled on a vlog, just a young couple and they just have this little camper. I mean, that’s literally not much bigger than my little office space here, which is tiny. It’s a very, very, the smallest kind of camper I’ve ever seen. And they got it hooked up to a Subaru and they’ve got a little dog and they’re out stuck in the snow out somewhere in Washington or Oregon or whatever and it’s beautiful, but they’re covered in snow and they’re just kind of doing their thing to get by until the snow melts and they can get out.

But it’s just a young guy and a girl and she went to film school and so they’re just using a little DSR camera and, but I’m sitting there going, “Darn it, I can’t stop watching these guys.” And it’s only like, 17, 18 minutes long, but they’ve got me and they’ve got hundreds of thousands of subscribers and millions of views and all of that. Here we are watching two people in a little tiny camper that we would never give a crap about.

39:36 Jaqueline: Never even know about.

39:37 CJ: At any other time, but they’re sustaining themselves and they’re able to sell. She makes little jewelries and things and all, it’s all germane to her culture and all of that. And she does a great job of editing the video and you’re like, “Wow.” It’s, I’m as riveted by that as I am Mandalorian, you know what I mean?

There’s no baby Yoda in this, there’s a puppy, but not a baby Yoda. Yeah. It’s just, it’s wonderful to me because it shows me that Galaxy Electric can have that same sort of appeal because it’s going to appeal to an audience and so much so that you can have experienced even a crossover effect as more and more people get to know you guys. Other people who may be interested in the culture but not necessarily in the music, they get to know you guys and they’re like, “You know what? I don’t normally listen to this, but I love the vibe these guys have and I just want to listen to the music.” And that’s kind of how the organic way you become that human algorithm and you get around Facebook’s little wall of resistance.

40:42 Jaqueline: Yeah, yeah. Definitely have to have that attitude of where there’s a will, there’s a way.

40:48 CJ: Well we’re looking forward to some big things for you guys in 2020 as we recording this the end of the year, but how can people learn more about what you’re doing? Where do you want to direct them to? I’ll put it on the show notes of course afterwards, but some people will never see that. They’ll only hear it.

41:04 Jaqueline: Okay.

41:04 CJ: So where do you want to send people?

41:05 Jaqueline: So galaxyelectric.com is our website, which would be a place that you can find everything. You can kind of loop that direction to our Facebook and our Instagram and our YouTube or our shop. So the galaxyelectricshop.com is also where you’re going to find our music. We have vinyl, we have digital, we have fun things that we call oddities, which are always changing. We have, since it’s winter, we have just gotten new like hoodies and warm, cozy things in the shop. So that’s been a really fun way to be creative as well it to develop the shop.

41:46 Augustus: And a little bit of a spoiler, a new product idea. I actually am going to put up there that I will record like sounds or whole songs to tape. Like I have like four or five different tape machines. There’s going to be a product where you can actually get your stuff like tapeified-

42:05 CJ: Oh, wow.

42:05 Augustus: If you don’t want to have to go through the trouble of getting a reel to reel yourself.

42:09 Jaqueline: Oh, wow.

42:10 Augustus: So that’s kind of like-

42:11 Jaqueline: Not everybody wants to be like a tape machine mechanic.

42:14 Augustus: So that’ll be something that you can do from our shop as well coming up in the near future.

42:19 Jaqueline: Yes.

42:20 CJ: Isn’t that great? And that creative space is just absolutely fascinating. Yeah, I would encourage our listeners, please go check these guys out. I love them. They, I love their attitude. I love how much they’ve pushed forward this past year and again, so great to watch it up close. But we do, we’re believing for great things for you guys, upcoming. Listen guys, if you’re listening, please do us a favor. Leave a review of this podcast, your favorite player. If they offer stars, click all of them. Click all the stars, give us a review because we do read them in our team meetings and it means a great deal to us and also helps people to discover.

If you’re not a subscriber, I encourage you to subscribe to the inner circle which is our membership. It’s the lowest end product that we have with the most bang for the buck and it’s, you get a periodical newsletter as well as a free mini-course and you get an audio version of it, but it’s a great way to get your feet wet into the principles of music marketing that we teach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. You can learn more about that at savvymusicianacademy.com and we will see you guys soon.

Episode #079: Creating Boundaries With Fans — Where To Draw The Line

In this episode Leah and C.J. discuss setting boundaries between you and your fanbase in proactive ways to create a better customer support experience for you and your fans. In other words, setting boundaries is for more than protecting you, your privacy, and your time. It’s about creating a better experience for them too.

As Leah and C. J. touch on their personal experiences, they provide key insights to setting up boundaries, creating customer support techniques, and utilizing guidelines for conversing on social media. 

Customer Service is more than what we think, and it’s so important in the age of social media and digital marketing that you have to get it right from the beginning, and in this episode you’ll learn how!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • The new role and accessibility of musicians
  • Separating your personal and business life
  • Different types of boundaries to have
  • The importance of customer service 
  • Handling negative customer behaviors
  • Setting up customer expectations 
  • Professional attitude and mindset
  • Problem solving in the customer service area
  • How to converse on social media
  • Setting up a P.O. Box
  • Setting up business hours


“The battle you have to win every day is the battle of the newsfeed.” – @metalmotivation [0:04:26]

“I’m going to have a personal page that’s for me, my personal profile. I’m going to have a professional page, and that’s where I’m going to post all my music stuff.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:08:17]

“(Customer’s) expectations are incredibly high for response on all platforms at all times.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:010:18]

“If there’s anything really important that you need them to know put it in the receipt email.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:015:55]

“We’re always looking to improve what we’re doing on our end, so I never automatically blame the person” – @LEAHthemusic [0:016:39]

“Put yourself in the shoes of a fan who’s buying something from you.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:18:39]

“I think what’s most important is the change that needs to happen in the artists themselves, to be strong, to learn to be firm, to know that just because this one person is difficult to deal with, is not a reflection on you.” – @metalmotivation [0:21:33]

“Boundaries and dealing with customer service are part of growing your empire.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:28:10]

“I try to treat every interaction as though this is life or death for my business.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:35:49]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

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

Noe Venable (Student Spotlight) — https://www.facebook.com/noevenablemusic/

Click For Full Transcript

00:21 CJ: Welcome to the Savvy Musician Show, the premiere music marketing podcast. This is CJ Ortiz on the mindset and branding and friend of Leah and cohost of this show, all of those things for SMA. We all wear several hats, but joined once again by her eminence, Miss Awesomeness, Leah, how you doing?

00:43 Leah: I’m doing just great drinking my coffee here, getting a second wind.

00:48 CJ: That’s right. We batch-record these. We try to get as many of them knocked out as we can when we do these together, and we have some great chats. We just had one, so we’re maintaining energy for-

01:00 Leah: That’s right.

01:01 CJ: … these podcasts, but hope everybody’s getting great value out of them. Again, please, we encourage you to leave a review for us. Pick your favorite player, click some stars if that’s what they offer, and write a review. Helps other people to find it, and we read each and every one of them. We share them, in fact, in our team meetings, so if you want to inspire and motivate us, that’s how you do it. As I always say, being a motivational speaker myself, you want to know how to motivate a motivator, tell him or her how much they motivate you. We’d love to hear from you.

Before we get started into today’s episode, I want to share just a student spotlight. This is from one of our Elite members, Noe Venable, and she writes, “#win, I’m prepped and ready for my first harp pro photoshoot tomorrow,” by that, she means harp, playing the instrument the harp. She says, “What amazes me is how great I feel going into this one, like I know who I am artistically. I know what I want the photos to look and feel like. I’ve got my playlist ready. I’m ready to rock the photoshoot like I would rock a show. This would not have been the case a year ago before I started with SMA. I totally credit the course for holding space for me to dial in the look and feel of my brand so that I feel as good about that as I do about my music. Wish me luck, everyone, and thank you, SMA, xoxoxo.” Those are your xo’s I think, Leah.

02:32 Leah: Oh. I usually sign off with the x’s and o’s.

02:35 CJ: That’s a great testimony, man.

02:38 Leah: Yeah, absolutely. Seeing so much progress from her in our group, and I love it. It’s what keeps me doing all of this is people who take what I’ve put in the curriculum and they run with it. It’s just like, “Okay, I just need to know enough that I can go out there into the universe and do my thing, and all I needed was just the system, this process. I needed the confidence. I need the mindset check. I needed the strategy, and they just run with it. It makes me really proud.

03:15 CJ: Yeah. I mean, without spending too much time talking about her, but she is a great example, a more contemporary one for us because I observed the same things that you do, Leah, about her and what she’s doing. I mentioned her even the other day in our coaching group. I said, “One thing I appreciate about Noe, is that you’re willing to get your hands dirty and learn these things,” but one of the thing that’s interesting about her in specific as it relates to today’s episode, Leah, is that she had a lot of questions and a lot to overcome in relation to who she was allowing into her Facebook group that she attached to her Facebook music business page because she was opening the door to this whole new population of people, and all of these new fans are coming in, and there’s some people who maybe were not a great fit.

She really wanted to protect the culture, and so it brings up the question… in which she overcame all of that and applied the principles that you taught, but it does bring up the point about… because, Leah, so much of this is a social media thing, and I try to tell the students that, is that the battle you have to win every day is the battle of the newsfeed because that’s where people meet you primarily for the first time. They start this journey with you. They go then to your page, and they start following your posts, and they maybe opt in for something, visit your website or something like that.

Well, now they’re getting to know you, and so the dynamic of social media, as you know, means that we’ve got to come out from behind the microphone and be more of a messenger and a leader and interact with our fans and all of these things. Well, that can open up… That’s a blessing because you get to now communicate in a way artists never really were able to do in the past. Record labels can’t do this. But then there’s another side to this, which is having boundaries with fans. I know you’ve experienced this firsthand, which is this topic really came out of your own personal experience, but how do we broach this subject about creating boundaries with fans and drawing the line?

05:23 Leah: Yeah, I mean, I faced a great deal of this over the years, and as we move more and more into an e-commerce type of landscape where this is the norm, it’s no longer the exception, shopping online for physical products is more normal, what I’ve seen happen over the years is people don’t email in, they don’t call a phone number. What they do is basically post anywhere and everywhere, random places, for example, customer service questions, problems, whatever, and they expect to be answered immediately.

I’m addressing it from a customer service perspective, but there’s more to this, but it’s an easy one because I’m dealing with it still currently, and specifically, the fact that I am so accessible and reachable as an artist through social media, especially on Instagram, especially via DMs. I respond to every single DM that I get either by responding to it or actually writing something back, acknowledging that they wrote something to me, saying, “Thank you.” I reply to many comments, but I especially reply to DMs.

Before Instagram was so popular, it was also the same way on Facebook where before there was different security settings and privacy settings and before I really made my profile private, fans would just contact me and want to chit chat or talk or had questions about their order or whatever, a variety of things. I quickly realized that, “Okay, I’m going to have to really make a purposeful decision about what my boundaries are, how I want to run my music business in a way that isn’t going to burn me out, for one.” That set some healthy boundaries here.

First thing I did was I stopped adding fans or potential fans as friends. On your personal profile, you have a limit of 5,000. I can’t remember if there was ever a cap on that when Facebook started, but at some point they put a cap on, 5,000, and around that time, I realized I need to separate my personal from business. Besides, there’s a cap of 5,000, so why would I fill it all up with people who don’t even know me, and besides, I’m posting pictures of my cat and my kids and the funny things they said. It’s kind of a personal private thing. It’s not for them.

So I changed the settings on my profile, so deleted thousands of people. I want to say like 1,000 or 2,000, this was years ago, and made the decision, “I’m going to have a personal page that’s for me, personal profile. I’m going to have a professional page, and that’s where I’m going to post all my music stuff.”

Of course, a lot of people even today use their personal profile for business purposes because they think it gets better reach. Really, I think it’s almost the same as a page. There are people… I mean, I follow probably thousands of pages and groups and people, and there’s only so much space in the newsfeed, and I only spend so much time on there per day, so I’m only seeing a tiny, tiny fraction of things that I signed up to see. It’s the same thing on a page or anywhere else.

That’s the first big thing that I changed was pull the bandaid, rip the bandaid right off, get rid of all the fans that you have accepted on your personal profile. I mean, it’s kind of freaky when you think that if they’re a friend on your profile, they can pretty much have you on speed dial. They can video you, they can call you, they can message you at any time of the day or night, and there’s nothing you can do about that. I mean, I think there’s ways you can mute people. Maybe, but why do that to yourself? At any point you start scaling your music business and becoming more successful, this is not going to… you’re going to regret it really quickly.

That was a smart move for me. Now, even though I’ve done that, I still have to set firm boundaries. My biggest challenge right now with the level that I’m at is the customer service part of it where, yeah, you’re doing a crowdfunding campaign, and people somehow think that if I leave a message if I tweet something on Twitter that I’m going to get a customer service response. I’m like, “I’m not even on Twitter. Why are you asking me about a customer service… The status of your order is on Twitter. That’s not customer service. If you even saw my profile, you see I barely am on there.”

People are… their expectations are incredibly high for response on all platforms at all times, so this is a boundary thing even. I wish there was a blanket way to address that one issue, but there isn’t other than just making it clear, making it known during campaigns, after campaigns, and album launches through email and through organic posts that, “Hey, if you have any questions about your order, send an email here, and be specific. Give the email address.”

That’s the only thing that I can recommend that you do it, and just do it often, and do it even if you think no one needs it because they need to know there’s a place to go if I’m having an issue. I bring this up, and sorry this is a monologue, but… or rant, one of the two-

11:06 CJ: It’s great.

11:07 Leah: … because I really am still dealing with this. I’ve had to be very frank and upfront with certain fans that did not respect my boundaries and the fact that I am accessible and that that’s a privilege, and I don’t have to be that accessible where it was like the status of an order or something went haywire, whatever, and they’re contacting me over and over on a Saturday during my private weekend time with my family, and they’re expecting response right now. If I don’t respond to them, they’re getting more upset kind of a thing. I just… You try to be composed and polite… and I always believe in that, like basically, put a smile on and just realize, “Okay.”

I mean, as an artist, I think I hate dealing with customer service, would probably be like my top things that I don’t like doing, but you ended up having to do it a little bit as even if it’s just, “Hey, our business hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 to 5:00 at this email address,” and you put on a smile and you say that and you take care of your fans, even if they are being totally rude, obnoxious, demanding and you know. There’s a way to handle it while also setting your boundary and saying, “These are the hours we operate that we can get back to you, and this is where you can send in your complaint or concern or question.

I hope that helps somebody listening right now because it can be stressful when people expect such an immediate response from you any time of the day. I’m sure you’ve encountered that, CJ, with your Metal Motivation stuff too where just people just assume. Because you’re online, because the internet, you’re awake 24 hours a day, and you never go to sleep, and you should get an answer right now.

12:56 CJ: That’s right. Yeah, I had a guy just recently who was like… It’s so funny because he was just mad about an item that wasn’t included. He had ordered like a shirt, a hat, and then a phone case. Now, of course, as you know, Leah, these are different vendors providing these, so he got the first two items fine, but the phone case was delayed, and so he was very upset about it. He’s just hitting me up on all of these things and finishing with the line, which I haven’t heard since the ’80s, it was, “I’m going to call my lawyer and the Better Business Bureau.”

I’m like, “Really? Do you honestly think that matters?” I had written him back, and I told him all the little idiosyncrasies of all of this, and at the end, I said, “But listen, hey, I mean, you’re still welcome to call your lawyer, you’re still welcome to report to the Better Business Bureau because I know you don’t really mean that,” but what it shows you is that when you’re hearing from these people, it’s primarily emotion. They don’t know how to deal.

It’s like people who have to communicate every emotion they have on Facebook, so they go off and they just whatever they’re feeling. They have… You don’t have to do that, just as a note. You don’t have to go online and express your feelings, but the thing about it is that that is primarily what people are doing is they are venting. If they know that they can possibly upset your applecart or embarrass you or whatever, then they’re going to do that if you don’t have something in place that directs them. If anybody’s observant of a lot of the stuff, your emails or your sales pages or your whatever, there’s a lot of content in there telling people fulfillment time for orders and here’s who to call and you know, that sort of thing.

15:00 Leah: That’s another proactive thing that can really help as far as reducing the need for them to bother you and cross that boundary of contacting you whenever they want to is setting expectations as often and frequently as possible, especially when you’re dealing with the e-commerce side of things. Like you said, on product descriptions, I’m very transparent about shipping times, order processing times, “Hey, your items may arrive separately.” We put that in the product description. We’ll put it in a receipt email. We’ll put it up in a followup email, and yet people still don’t read it. They don’t compute, or somehow they’re not even seeing it.

But it does reduce the number of complaints for sure. If you’re just as upfront and put it in as many places as you know, they’re always going to open a receipt email, so if there’s anything really important that you need them to know like where to contact, what email to use, anything like order times or processing shipping times, if items are going to arrive separately, that is a fantastic place to put it because you always open a receipt email, make sure that you got what you ordered.

There’s a couple other really good things. Oh, I mean, I recently encountered an issue, here’s just another thing, and this has to do with boundaries, but also problem-solving in the customer service area where somebody, a fan, it might have even been the same one, was really upset about something, it was kind of like a delayed thing, like, “I got this thing, but I didn’t get that thing.” Of course, we’re always looking to improve what we’re doing on our end, so I never automatically like blame the person. I go first, “Oh, did we screw up on something? Let’s check.” If we did, we make it right, and if not, and if it ends up the person missed something, like, “Okay, well, clearly we can communicate better,” I still try to take ownership.

Anyway, this person wanted to get on the phone. I do have a customer service phone number, and you can get that through different customer service apps and stuff, so they’re not calling a phone. It’s connected to our ticketing service that we have. Anyway, he ended up calling the wrong number. It was a number we had actually for SMA on a receipt through Stripe, which is a payment processor, and because at the time when I set up the account, originally, I didn’t have my Ex Cathedra phone number, so I just… but you had to put something in there, so I put in the SMA phone number.

He’s like calling SMA and trying to get… He ended up talking to one of our people, and it all ended up working out. They’re like, “Yeah, no, this is SMA and… ” but anyways, but he was like, “I’m so confused, and blah, blah, blah.” Anyway, all I have to say is that that was preventable if I had thought through the fact that where is somebody looking to find that contact information. He went to a different… It wasn’t actually a Shopify receipt. It was a payment processor receipt. If I had turned it off… because they actually don’t need two of them. If I turned that off, that would have solved the problem. He would’ve gone to our website to get the phone number. Instead, he went to the receipt he had with the different phone number.

Again, that problem was preventable if I had done my due diligence and like sifted through those details, but because we didn’t and I didn’t catch it, I got a whole bunch of extra messages about it. The whole moral of the story is do what you can to think through… put yourself in the shoes of a fan who’s buying something from you. Did you make it clear where they can go if they have an issue or a problem or a question? Give them a specific email address that you want them to use.

This’ll go for, if I see something on social media, most of the time, I’m saying, “Hey, please email our support,” and I’ll tell them what it is. It takes an extra 10 seconds for me to type it. Put yourself in the shoes, go through the process, and then if someone is messaging you, emailing you, just tell them what your business hours are, so that means, hey, set some hours. Yeah, you’re not going to hear from us on a Saturday at midnight. No. We even have to set that expectation for customers in SMA, and you’re dealing with people in different time zones where they’re, it can be quite demanding and rude thinking, “I should be getting a response immediately because I’m a customer.”

It’s like, “Well, we have staff with business hours because they’re allowed to have time off and have a weekend with their family and… ” so you’re having to set boundaries. I mean, this is just part of business is setting those boundaries, and if you do get a fan who is disrespectful, rude, not respecting that, I think it’s okay to be forward and frank with them and saying just that that that’s not acceptable and please email. If they just at the end of the day will not respect you, you might have to go as far as deleting them, blocking them, doing what you have to do. It’s a last resort, obviously.

20:12 CJ: Yeah. Yeah, I think-

20:12 Leah: But it happens.

20:15 CJ: Yeah, it certainly does, and I think it extends into the other area where you have to have the boundaries, which is just in the basic interaction with fans on social media because they want to be acknowledged, which is important. You mentioned that you answer all your DMs, and I’m sure that if people comment, you do your best to answer or respond to their comments and what have you.

I think you can get with artists oftentimes is that fear of rejection, that fear of judgment. They don’t want people to not like them. Obviously, they’re doing what they can on social media to get their following and all of that, so the last thing they want to do is upset someone. What that ends up doing is you start placating these people, placating these fans, and suddenly then fans are starting to comment on everything and doing everything to… and just, they’ll take up your whole day with just a conversation over something, and-

21:13 Leah: They’ll use it as an excuse to just chit chat with you, really, if you’re that reachable.

21:19 CJ: Yeah, and I’ll get that with people who will private message me on my own profile or they’ll try to direct message me on the page or what have you, and so you have to take things one by one, but I think what’s most important is the change that needs to happen in the artists themselves, to be strong, to learn to be firm, to know that just because this one person is difficult to deal with, is not a reflection on you.

It’s them. It’s an issue they have, and it’s okay for you to establish these boundaries. They can be very public. Those boundaries can be very public in just the way that you answer. In other words, don’t answer… Learn how to answer in a way that doesn’t create an open loop. Just because they say, “Hey, how are you? Have a great day,” don’t answer back by saying, “My day’s great. Tell me what you did.” Don’t keep this loop going, everything in a way that tries to close a conversation while being polite because you just, you can’t-

22:22 Leah: Yeah. That’s really good. That’s a really good tip actually because the way you answer somebody could just keep it going and going. If you answer somebody with a question, well, you might just get sucked in for the next hour or two. I think knowing, especially if you’re in DMs and stuff, if people say something, just say, “Thank you, means a lot,” or something like that and move on. It’s just like a statement. I answer a lot of things with statements, and very rarely will I open the loop for more conversation. Even though if someone continues, I’ll acknowledge them by double tapping their message, sending them a little heart back or something, saying, “I saw you. I acknowledge you.”

It does something for their dopamine loop, actually, if you acknowledge somebody. I read somewhere that, on social media anyways and the reason why we’re all addicted to social media is because of dopamine. It’s this little pleasure chemical in your brain, so when you get these little dings and notifications, when you open it up and see there’s somebody’s messaged you, it makes you… There’s a little sensor in your brain saying, “I’m important.”

When someone leaves a message or a comment or a DM with you and you acknowledge them back, especially if you comment back, it actually closes that dopamine loop, and it’s not closed unless it’s acknowledged. If you can do that, it will keep them coming back and keep them very loyal. There’s good reason to respond to people.

I am lucky in that I haven’t had anything too weird going on as far as like weird stalkers or anything. I haven’t had much of that, but it happens as well. There’s other safety things you want to keep in mind in terms of boundaries, like don’t put your phone number somewhere on the internet, don’t put your address somewhere on the internet. If you’re using an email service provider, use a P.O. Box because you have to, by law, display an address. Use a PO box. Don’t put your personal email. I think I said that already.

It may be useful, if you do get a lot of questions about orders and products and stuff like that, it may be useful in your Instagram bio to say what your business hours are, where they can find out more information if they have questions, and send them to your website, to a contact form, with specifics of, “Hey, my business hours,” or, “Our business hours are between Monday and Friday noon to 4:00 or something,” so they have expectation of when they can hear back from you on something. Just doing those few things can really cut down on people bombarding you inappropriately or just taking advantage of the fact that you are online and you’re accessible and reachable.

25:08 CJ: Yeah, I mean, I talk a lot about… I’ll use the example of defensive driving, which is when people take a course and drive, they’ll often take the course Defensive Driving. Why would you take defensive driving? Because you’re out there with other people who are behind the wheel of a 10,000 pound piece of steel.

You want to be on the defensive because they’re going to make bad decisions. They’re not going to be paying attention or whatever. But sometimes it comes down to the way your fans perceive you because of social media. For example, I get, because of the motivational thing, I get people asking me, “What’s your remedy for post-traumatic stress disorder?” I’m like, “You’re asking a guy who calls himself the Metal Motivator on Facebook to answer the PTSD question?” or that people with, I mean, serious therapeutic psychiatric issues and they’re talking to me about it, and I said, “Listen, guys, I’m just a motivational speaker.” Why… I’m talking to… or I’ll say something, like I said one day, “Attitude determines how long it takes to, quote-unquote, ‘get over it.'” Someone went off about that because, “What about this and this” and then some horror story.

I’m like, “You have to understand that if I get on here and I start talking about, for example, budgeting finances, I’m obviously not talking to an audience in the third world, so don’t bring them up.” I can’t die the death of a thousand qualifications, but because you’re out there and you’re this accessible, people perceive you a certain way, and so they’re just going to message you.

I had a guy messaged me a couple of days ago. He DM’d me on Instagram. All he said was… I don’t know who he is. There’s not even his face. It was some other just image for his profile picture. But he just said, “I need some advice.” That’s it. He didn’t say what he needed… Nothing, so I just wrote back, “Don’t marry her.” Your approach determines my response. You know what I mean? If you’re going to come at me like that, it’s just like, “Hey,” and it might be a serious thing going on on his end, but if you’re going to approach me like that and you’re going to know firsthand…

I’m not saying everybody needs to do it my way, but I’m just saying once you’ve done this for a long time, I want you… that’s my point is that you’re going to get used to that. You’re going to get tough skin. You’re not going to feel so bad about everybody’s feelings that you were a little too short with them or you had to be more direct in your… Don’t worry about that. It’s going to be rough getting started, but do it because it’s going to save you a ton of heartache down the road. Some of the things that Leah said, having these things completely spelled out on your sales pages and what numbers you feature, don’t feature your personal stuff, but again, that first line of defense is going to be when you are literally interacting with people, and know that you’re protecting your empire.

28:04 Leah: Absolutely. I wanted to also bring up on the topic of boundaries and dealing with customer service is part of growing your empire. You may be a one-man band and you’re dealing with it all yourself, or maybe you handle it as a band or maybe you are designating the customer service part of it to a spouse or a part-time person eventually. I just want you guys to all know that I too get extremely rude messages from fans from time to time. I have a couple of examples sitting here in front of me I had to pull up.

This is a post. Here’s a post. I put a screenshot in our Elite group, and I said… This is back from August, I said, “Let’s keep it real, folks. Today, I hit $50,000 in pre-orders. What people don’t see is that I also get to deal with lovely messages like these. It just comes with the territory. I send a lot of emails during a campaign. This poor fellow wants out of the car, so we’ll let him out.”

This was somebody who was really upset and was still sending emails and didn’t just unsubscribe. They want you to unsubscribe them. They’re so upset that “I’m not even going to unsubscribe myself. I’m going to make you do it, and I’m going to tell you how upset I am.” This person said, “I want to unsubscribe. I’ve done it, but I still get messages,” and then in all caps, all caps, so now he’s yelling, “I don’t effing care about… F-off,” with lots of exclamation marks and lots of all caps.

I mean, it made me laugh. I said, “Oh.” Let me tell you what my response was because I think it’s a good thing. Oh, so I posted my response to him in a screenshot, and I said, “I’m so sorry the unsubscribe button didn’t work for you. I’ll have my team take care of it. Lots of love, Leah.” This, you might think, “Well, why don’t you just tell him to F-off back or something?” It’s like because when you’re in business and you’re starting to make money, you have to take the higher road. You need to tell people that you are heard, and like you said, they’re just venting, and they want attention, and they’re looking for a certain response. They’re trying to upset you.

I mean, this guy is yelling at me in all caps, “I really want to unsubscribe, but I’m still getting messages I don’t care about, F you,” and all that. He’s trying to get a rise out of me, and I’m not going to give it to him. I’m going to be polite. What’s that that saying about heaping hot coals on someone’s head? How’s it go?

30:44 CJ: By doing something good for them, you’re heaping hot coals on their head, which we would say it would be like pouring water on their fire. It’s basically the same sort of effect. You neutralize their angst.

30:56 Leah: Yeah, being by being kind and polite and professional back to him, I am virtually completely disarming him, taking away all his ammunition. Another person a little more recently… Actually, I thought this was quite funny. They were begging me to unsubscribe them she said, “For her own sanity.” Basically she was saying, “I’m getting anxiety because your subject lines are so compelling,”-

31:27 CJ: Yeah.

31:27 Leah: … “I have to open your emails, and I can’t stop myself from opening your emails, and it’s causing me anxiety because you use subject lines like ‘we need to talk’ or ‘I have some bad news,'” things like that that basically I’m doing a really good job marketing because she can’t stop opening my emails and it’s causing her… I got a whole email about it, “And I really need you to unsubscribe me even though,”-

31:48 CJ: That’s funny.

31:48 Leah: … “my unsubscribe button is in the footer.” I thought that was hilarious. I sent it to my marketing manager, and he’s like… He just totally chuckled. He’s like, “That means you’re doing it right if someone can’t help but open them,” but just so you know, this comes with the territory, you guys. You need to step it up. Be professional. Don’t give them what they’re looking for. Heap coals on their head or pour water on their fire. You are going to maintain your dignity, retain your respect for yourself. You reply with a polite and kind answer, and just keep in mind, because people screenshot stuff and post them in forms and do weird things like that too, what you write and how you respond to people, it kind of lasts forever.

I also think it’s a good thing to keep in mind to maintain that professional posture at all times so you can never be accused of anything crazy or weird. You can always say… and this actually happened a couple of years back. I think some guy… I think when I launched a crowdfunding campaign, some person, I think last year was like, “Oh, I… ” something about the way I treat my fans. I’m like, “What on earth are you talking about, the way I treat my fans? I go the extra mile to treat my fans as good as I possibly could without inviting them to my house. What do you mean?”

“I remember talking to you about something or other,” and just incredibly accusatory of something. I don’t know what he was talking about. He mentioned something about how I had responded to him. I went back into my messages. I actually looked him up in Facebook Messenger on my page, found the conversation, screenshotted it, sent him back to it, said, “Oh, you mean this conversation?” and I don’t know, he was going on about something upset about something, and I maintained my posture. I maintain my politeness. I even offered to go the extra mile for him in that conversation. I was actually really proud of my response, and he said, “Oh. Okay. I guess I was wrong. Sorry.”

But I mean, he made a big stink about it, and he was really vocal about it. Then as soon as I had the proof to show him, “Hey, actually, I was really kind to you,” he pretty much went away with his tail between his legs. That’s why you want to maintain that. You have to take the higher road and just know that you are going to get rude fans. It’s kind of crazy to think… It’s like I’m just making music people, like seriously, but they’re out there.

34:23 CJ: Yeah. If you’re not a skilled debater, it’s certainly better to take the high road. There’ll be occasions where I will just because-

34:33 Leah: Well, you’re on a different level there. You do it for amusement, but-

34:38 CJ: Yeah, I do it for fun, but it’s like shooting fish in a barrel because I was debating on forums and things long before social media ever began, so for them, it’s something new, for me, it’s… but sometimes, it’s just like they catch you on that kind of day, but in general, I think, you always want to take the high road.

I mean, I would never do anything mean to somebody. I would just… It would lead more to their embarrassment just because they’re not necessarily prepared for that type of exchange, but other than that, there’s never a reason to be rude or name calling or anything like that. But, again, if you’re dealing with a fan, somebody who wants to spend money with you and that sort of stuff, that’s a business. Now you’re business type.

35:39 Leah: Well, and that’s why I handle it the way I do because it’s not like I’m just an artist out there with… and I’m not selling anything, and I’m just like, “This is personal interaction.” No, I treated it like a business. I try to treat every interaction as though this is life or death for my business. Customer service is a huge, huge part of success for any business. One thing I learned is if let’s say there’s two identical products out there, the one that has amazing customer service people will leave the other one and just go to the one with good customer service because it matters so much more for their experience.

In fact, the other product could be superior, and if you have better customer service, they will leave whatever… They don’t have no loyalty over there. They’ll go where they’re treated well, where they’re feeling respected, they feel heard. That’s why I built SMA with the team that we have and… Well, my team has built. I feel like it’s very democratic over here. We built it together. The systems and processes that we’ve developed have come out of responding to needs and hearing people and what they need and how they can feel best supported. That’s why I think it’s second to none.

36:52 CJ: Awesome. Leah, thank you. Set boundaries, guys, boundaries, because you’re now in the public space, and that’s a part of this wonderful opportunity that we have, but like I said, there’s another side to all of this, but being proactive in all of these things are great remedies and will go a much, much long way. We’re obviously giving specific examples of problematic people. You just know that you’re going to get it. Don’t take it personally. This is part of you growing as a business owner, so good things are ahead for you. Please do us, again, a favor, and leave a review for this podcast. We’re so excited about what’s coming for all of you in the new year, and so join us online as well. Leave us some comments, questions, some things you’d like for us to cover. We’d love to hear from you.

Episode #078: Leah’s Black Friday & Cyber Monday Results

2019 was one of Leah’s busiest years yet with a crowdfunding campaign, launching a new album, and aggressive holiday sales. In this episode, Leah and C. J. discuss her results and lessons learned from her Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

She shares what she spent in ads. She shares what she earned. And she shares the lessons learned and how she’s planning the upcoming year.

Remember, year-end holiday sales always begins now by bringing in new followers and turning them into superfans who are ready to spend money with you by the end of the year. Enjoy this episode!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Why you shouldn’t feel bad about promoting often.
  • The cynical nature of social media.
  • Leah’s music marketing team.
  • Leah’s holiday sales results.
  • What Leah’s focusing on in 2020.
  • Leah’s warm audience strategy.
  • Leah’s total ad spend.
  • Creating incentives for customers to buy now.
  • Leah’s 5 top-selling products.
  • Should you release an album during the holidays?
  • What Leah did differently this year.
  • Email vs social media ads.


“When it comes to advertising, people need to see it multiple times.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:04:00]

 “My gifts and abilities as a marketer myself, are inspired by someone else’s vision, someone else’s faith, someone else’s success.” — @metalmotivation [0:07:56]

“You have more gifts and abilities than you realize, and it’s just a matter of learning the skills to go ahead and put it out there to the world.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:11:13]

“You’re always wanting to replenish that email list.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:19:10]

“So when you’re planning a sale or a campaign, your challenge is to come up with the reason why they should do anything.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:25:14]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

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

Rich Howe, Epoch of Chirality (Student Spotlight) — https://www.facebook.com/EpochOfChirality/

Click For Full Transcript

00:21 CJ: Well, welcome to the Savvy Musician Show, the premiere music marketing podcast; at least that’s what I think. This is CJ Ortiz, I’m the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy, and thrilled to do it. Of course, joined once again by her eminence, the lovely Leah McHenry. Leah, how are you doing?

00:42 Leah: Doing great. I’m happy to be here today recording this with you.

00:46 CJ: It’s good to see you. I just did a couple of interviews with students and you weren’t on hiatus anywhere, just resting and relaxing, necessarily; you had plenty to do. We’re going to talk a little bit about that today, what you’ve been up to, sales wise. Of course, everybody’s heard about the album; we did the three parts on the crowdfunding campaign. We did an episode on the album launch. We talked about all the things that you’ve learned and just when you think that’s about all we can talk about for the end of the year, nope.

We still have to talk about the holiday sales. Black Friday, Cyber Monday. You say, well, that’s already passed. What does that matter? It matters big time because as you learned in some of the episodes we just recorded, Leah starts her preparation for that time now. So your preparation for your next Black Friday, your next Cyber Monday, your next album release, starts now with building your audience and all of the wonderful things that we’ll talk about. We’ll talk more about that today as Leah’s going to share her results and some of the things she learned and some of the details of what happened recently with her Black Friday/ Cyber Monday campaign.

Before we get into it, let me just share a quick student spotlight. This is from Rich Howe, and he’s one of our Tom students, I believe he’s also an elite now, if I’m not mistaken. Anyway, this is what Rich says, “#Win. Big moment. This week I have finally opened my website, mailing list, and now my Facebook page for my progressive Syfy metal project. I’ve also made a teaser video from my first single, which is going to act as a Facebook ad. I’m so excited. Until I got to the moment of actually making everything live, I was nervous about the point of no return. Now fan numbers are increasing already and it’s all the motivation I need to crack on with my debut album do next spring. All of this kicked off in April when Leah’s ad, after seeing it about five times everywhere, directed me to the Tom webinar and my brain was just in the perfect place to receive the information and I suddenly saw a path. Thank you Leah.”

02:57 Leah: That’s it, right? Your brain being the right place to receive the information. That is the case for so many people and it’s all about receptivity and are you ready to use the information that we’re trying to educate people about. If not, it doesn’t matter how well we present the information or how much information we give away, then you’re just not going to do anything with it. You won’t even appreciate it.

03:26 CJ: No, you won’t. I think it’s great that he said he saw your ad five times everywhere. I probably even saw it more than that, but he wasn’t offended. Isn’t that great?

03:34 Leah: Yeah. Science does clearly show people need to see things multiple times, I think six, seven, eight times before they often even take an action. So that’s why you shouldn’t feel bad about just promoting your music constantly; and there’s a way to do it correctly so that it doesn’t seem like you’re just promoting yourself relentlessly without trying to build relationships or a culture or anything like that. When it comes to advertising, people need to see it multiple times.

04:04 CJ: Yeah. We call it multiple touch points and if you’re really perceptive, you’re going to see that the dynamic of the relationship aspect is happening at this moment. As Leah and I are gathered together here to offer free valuable content that changes your life, that helps you move forward in your career, reach your goals, reach your dream, you get to know us, you get to trust us, you get to like us, hopefully. Therefore when we show up on your newsfeed, maybe one to five times, you’re not going to be put off by that because you’re going to say, these people mean something to me. They offer something and I know that yes, they have to obviously run their business and earn and all that sort of stuff, so I don’t take it personally because I see a promotion from the Savvy Musician Academy or Leah herself and that’s how it works, guys.

05:01 Leah: Well, I always think it’s funny, too, like musicians who are offended, you know the email promotions or ads that we see running or a campaign or something. It’s like you should maybe, even if you don’t want to buy anything or work with us or join a coaching program or anything, maybe it would be smart thing to just watch what we’re doing and observe.

05:23 CJ: Right?

05:23 Leah: I mean at the very least just watch and observe because we have experienced doing this, we’ve done millions of dollars in revenue. I think we know a little bit; we don’t know everything, but we do know we have, we have spent a lot to learn it, too. Observe and try to see what we’re doing so you can try and apply it to what you’re doing.

05:44 CJ: Exactly. This is so important. It’s so funny, we’ve become such a cynical culture, especially online, you either are going to celebrate what somebody posts or you’re going to criticize what somebody posts, it’s like one of the two. So many people now are in that sort of posture, where they’re so quick to criticize. They’re not going to give any allowance for it. Instead of looking at the big picture and saying, “Wow, here’s a person who, after 20 years now of- after Napster came on the scene and streaming services and the record labels began to decline, everybody’s saying music is dead, the music industry is dead, you can’t make money making music anymore- here’s a person who not just as doing it, but she’s doing it without touring. She’s doing it while raising five kids, schooling them at home as if that’s not big enough to do.

I mean, so you’re talking about an anomaly. You’re talking about somebody who has every reason to have excuses, every reason to not have time, every reason. She didn’t go to marketing school. She didn’t, she wasn’t raised to do this, but here she is coming out of nowhere, suddenly dropped into the scene and is paving a new way for musicians to create their own career. You have a problem with what exactly? What is it you’re so offended by? What is it you want to criticize? No, ladies and gentlemen; if anything you should say thank you. Thank you Leah, for being a pioneer. Thank you Leah, for penetrating that membrane, for breaking through like-

Everybody knows about the four minute mile. For hundreds and thousands of years, the four minute mile could not be broken until middle of the 20th century. Somebody broke the four minute mile. Then after that, everybody started breaking the four minute mile.

You’ve got to have somebody who is that spearhead, somebody who’s the pioneer, somebody who breaks through and then it opens the door for a torrent of other people. So I’m grateful, Leah, that you’ve done that and I was doing my own thing and you and I have had our friendship. Even so, because of your commitment to the vision, we were just talking about this offline; I told her, I said, “Listen man, my gifts and abilities as a marketer myself, are inspired by someone else’s vision, someone else’s faith, someone else’s success,” and so I don’t have any other choice but to say I want to be linked up with it. I want to help make it happen. I want to help continue to open these doors for other musicians.

I just think that’s the Savvy Musician Academy. That’s the Leah testimony. That’s why it’s so important for us to keep talking about what she’s doing and her results. We’re going to do that now, of course, in terms of the holiday sales, but again, man, you got to get past your cynicism because it says more about you than it does about the Savvy Musician Academy, the model that we teach. It really does say a whole lot more about you and we want you to get free of you, because you may just be your biggest hurdle right now.

08:43 Leah: Oh yeah, that’s so true. For those who get upset, and I don’t think people listening to this podcast are these people at all, but for those people who get upset about the coaching part of it- one of the comments you see on ads, it’s once in a while it’s, Oh, you make your money from coaching, not from music.” It’s like, well, number one, I made money with music long before I ever start a coaching. That’s why I started coaching and started Savvy Musician Academy, was because I was actually having success paying for bills in a financial climate that we were really struggling in. My music kind of saved the day, actually. Which is pretty incredible that, I mean, I had a newborn, I was, I was nursing a newborn and my music royalties were coming in, paying for groceries at times.

It was crazy. I had to pinch myself. Is this even real? So, that happened. Second of all, do you realize that what I’ve done with Savvy Musician Academy, that you could also do. In fact one of the five streams of income that I teach is your ability to teach other people what you know. So whether you are a piano teacher, vocal teacher, you teach guitar lessons, or you’re teaching people how to use a D.A.W.s, you’re teaching people how to do producing- there’s a whole variety of experts and skills that you have that can also turn into a stream of income.

So I did just that. I thought, I’m going to produce this little ebook maybe that could help our family out in addition to this online musician thing I’m doing. That ended up turning to SMA and I had absolutely no idea it would impact tens of thousands of people around the world. Now that I did not expect.

So it goes to show that you don’t know where things could lead and that it’s important that you explore these different options, explore these ideas. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket and teaching your knowledge is one of the ways you get to be creative with your gifts and your talents. That’s what I’ve done. Hey, maybe there’s a seven figure business sitting dormant inside of you that you need to explore.

11:04 CJ: Right?

11:05 Leah: You haven’t because you think, well that means I’m not a real musician. No, it means you’re a smart one. It means you’re creative. It means that you have more gifts and abilities than you realize, and it’s just a matter of learning the skills to go ahead and put it out there to the world.

11:22 CJ: Yeah, this is so key. I know we’re off topic, but this is such an important thing that people need to understand. That it’s more than a music career that they possibly have buried underneath their hypothetical lawn here. When I turned 40 and you do all the reflection and all that kind of stuff, and I’d been in design and advertising and marketing and all of that and in relation to the design, I thought, “Man, you know, I’m not getting any younger. So all the young bucks are coming out of art school in their early twenties, they’re hungry, they’ll work for less money. They’re not a head of household, so they’re going to start taking clients.”

So I started to think, well what’s going to, what’s it going to be like in 10 years? Can I keep doing this on a client by client, project by project basis. As I was thinking about it, I thought to myself, I’ve become an unintentional expert. The reason was because up to that time I had been self employed, working out of home for 15 years. Well you do 15 years of anything, you’re an expert, period. So I said, “You know, at the very least I could start doing things, marketing the information on how to have a home based business,” not even directly related to the field I was in; just talking about home based business. Anything that I didn’t know like certain accounting things or whatever. Those are little things you can fill in the gaps pretty quick. To be able to say that you’ve been doing something for 15, 20, 30 years, makes you the unintentional expert. Unintentional in that I wasn’t planning to become an expert in home based business, it’s just sort of happened along the way.

So these are the things that now in the information age you can capitalize on. If you do teach piano and music or producing or home recording or whatever it may be, managing bands, getting booked, anything can be monetized, information-based. That’s what Leah did; she did it very successfully. Like she said earlier, just watch what we’re doing. Watch we’re how we’re going about this whole process. We’re practicing what we preach.

13:28 Leah: Yeah.

13:29 CJ: Anyway, we’re suppose to talk about holiday sales.

13:31 Leah: We are.

13:34 CJ: Everybody’s done to death with the holidays, so they don’t even want to talk about the holidays anymore.

13:38 Leah: This is what’s called a post mortem where we dissect what happened, the good, bad and ugly, and really this is something we haven’t even gone over this fully yet in my team meetings toward the end of the year, which we’re going to do. I think in my next team meeting, we’re doing a full autopsy on the entire campaigns all the way from my crowd funding through to just like the Black Friday, Cyber Monday, but since we were recording today, I wanted to at least give a brief overview of some of the things I know, for sure, that we learned, things that we were surprised by, things that did not work so well, and what we’re going to do next time.

So it’s going to be valuable. I actually got a lot of detail from my team and my team, if you’re wondering what’s her team, I’ll just tell you who I have right now: I have somebody who I’m calling basically my marketing manager and someone who’s helping me push the buttons and execute all the sales and campaigns I have running. I have a full time assistant now. Actually, I have had that for the last few years and I have a full time customer service person. So that’s, that’s my core team. It’s a small, little, what you call a, skeleton team.

With those three people, you can accomplish a lot in an online business and my music business is an online business. It’s essentially an e-commerce business, selling music and physical products around the music. We can have another podcast episode one day, write this down, on team building and like who to hire first. We can talk about that. I would love to go into that, but for today I asked them, “Hey, is there any specific things that you would like to share that I can share on the podcast before we even do our big post-mortem meeting?” There are. There’s some really surprising and cool things.

I’m not going to go so super detailed because it would really overwhelm you. In fact, when I look at all these stats, it overwhelmed me because that’s my brain. I have to kind of take it in. What I will do is try to share with you the nuggets and principles that I think are most applicable to the most people.

Some of the nitty gritty stuff. I will save for my elite students, since that’s what they’re there for is to really get into the nitty gritty of some of these techniques and the psychology of things, but I can share quite a bit here with everybody because I think it’s part of just the education process; learning how to think this way.

16:19 CJ: Right.

16:19 Leah: So where should we begin?

16:21 CJ: Well, first let’s just: the general results. How profitable was it for you this year?

16:26 Leah: It’s been really profitable. Although, I will say there were some unexpected expenses that I wasn’t quite prepared for that we weren’t ready- and it was hard to get certain estimates on things until it was in production. So, that already started from the crowdfunding campaign. So for example, vinyl is very expensive. We sold out of it immediately, but it’s also very expensive to produce. Things like that where in the end, I knew, like I said in the past episodes, I wasn’t looking to be profitable in the campaign, I was looking to break even. So we accomplished exactly what we set out to do, and that was fantastic.

17:03 CJ: By campaign you meant, just to the peep people understand, the crowdfunding campaign, this is not the holiday sales.

17:10 Leah: Correct, yeah. The reason why I’m including that in this conversation is because it really has felt very back to back. My crowdfunding campaign was basically all through September and then we had October off. So one month where that wasn’t happening and we were dealing with logistics. November came around and my album launched on November the 15th, but two weeks before that launch we had a pre-sale. So the entire month of November was a sale. Then right back to back with that was Black Friday, Cyber Monday.

So it’s been pretty much an ongoing campaign since late August. It’s been going, going, going, going, going. So I have really kind of ridden my audience quite hard and at this point, I’ve kind of exhausted my warm audience. I’ve gone through a lot. A lot of the sales I was going to make, I’ve made.

18:18 CJ: Right.

18:19 Leah: So now I’m heading into the new year, we’re definitely going to be focusing on cold audiences, new people, new traffic, and that’s always usually what I’m doing year round. Then the beauty of doing that is when you get to a campaign or an album launch, you really are relying now on that warm audience you’ve built in your email list. So that’s the whole point and it’s really what we focus on very intentionally in our Super Fan System Elite Group is build that email list year round and you do make sales on the front end, you do.

Where you really see the fruit of your labor is later on down the road when you do the album launch, you do a sale or you have some kind of campaign going on. That’s where the big payoff is. You’re always wanting to replenish that email list because people on subscribe every time, they’re going to unsubscribe every day, and so you’re wanting to replenish that. Then there’s just other things that happen where you may be cleaning your list or people sign up with a bad email, so you’re always wanting to build that year round. So that’s contributing to this whole thing.

Now if you’re looking for specific numbers, I can share a few numbers, but I will confess, you guys, I am hesitant in doing so. Number one, I’m hesitant because, frankly, are people going to be like, “That’s nothing.” Other people are going to be like, “Oh my gosh, that’s like what I make an entire year.” This is the biggest reason is I really don’t like comparisons. I am really worried that my students will compare themselves to me and feel like they are not doing enough, that they’re not successful if they’re not hitting my numbers or, or if they loved my numbers, that if they swipe every single thing, I’m doing every single ad copy, and the layout of my sales pages and everything, that they’re also going to get the exact same results. Then if they don’t, they’re going to think there’s something wrong with them.

So I share all of this with you because that makes me very hesitant to share numbers because I don’t want the comparison game. It’s not good for you and we live in a comparison society. It’s an Instagram society. Everybody’s trying to inflate numbers and make themselves look better than they are. It’s not reality. So anyways, I can share couple of things, I think.

So for my preorder, let me share this. So my album launched was November 15th. We started to preorder two weeks before. The sale was two weeks before the album launch. Now before that, we ran ads to build something called an early bird list. Now, I may have mentioned this briefly, but we ran ads to my warm audience, I put emails out there and we even did some cold, I believe, where people opted in to get access to an early bird list.

The benefit of being on an early bird list, I had to come up with an incentive. Why would people join my email list if they can get access to the same products once the album is launched? So this is the challenge. I have to come up with an incentive. What is the incentive? What can I create that would be juicy enough for them to go through the process and the hassle of entering their email address? Well, the hook was they got a chance to win a free copy of the album; I think we even made it a bundle, it might’ve been a bundle. Getting first dibs on limited edition items, like autographed stuff and getting the album first. So we came up with like a little short list of just two or three really strong reasons why they would want to opt in.

Now obviously if it’s a cold audience, someone who’s never heard of me before, there’s a lot less of a chance of them opting in unless they first seen my music or heard me somewhere. So this is primarily a warm audience strategy. So we ran that for a couple of weeks before the prelaunch sale began. Once we launched the presale, that lasted two weeks. Total a revenue was just under $25,000 for those two weeks.

22:50 CJ: Yeah.

22:51 Leah: So that was amazing. We had an ad spend of about $5,800 so we ran ads. So it’s basically a return on ad spend of 4.2, which is very good.

23:05 CJ: Right.

23:06 Leah: It’s very, very good these days. The early bird list size was about 2300 people. So 2,300 people opted in, said, “Yes, I want first dibs, I want-” I think we have a discount code or we had something going on, and it’s all a blur now, that would incentivize them to buy now instead of later.

I think this is a nugget. You have to give people a reason to buy now because if you don’t tell them why to buy now, they will say, “Oh yeah, I mean to get that, I’m going to get that. I plan to get it, but I’m not going to do it yet. Oh, I’m waiting till Friday. Oh, I’m waiting for this”. You just have to give people a reason.

I think we mentioned this before about the copy machine scenario. Do you remember that? There has been experiments of where people were standing in line at a copy machine, if you even remember what that is-

24:07 CJ: Right?

24:07 Leah: -in an office. Some guy, this was an experiment, wanted to but in line and go to the front of the copy machine. There’s like a big lineup it’s some a corporate building. It’s a lot of employees there, and some guy wanted to cut in the front. So the experiment was: What if I tell them I’m running late? Would they let me cut in? So we tried that and sure enough they said, “Oh yeah, sure you can go ahead in front of me.” Then another day he tried a totally different reason. “My dog ate my homework,” or something really silly, kind of didn’t really make sense. Like 50 to 80% of the time they still said, “Yes, you can go in front of me.” So there’s a bunch of different reasons. Then when he just said, “Can I just go in front?” But didn’t give a reason, the answer was no. So the moral of the story is people don’t even really care from a psychological psychology standpoint, they don’t really care what the reason is as long as there’s a reason.

25:12 CJ: Right.

25:13 Leah: So when you’re planning a sale or a campaign, your challenge is to come up with the reason why they should do anything. Why? Because it’s my birthday. Because usually there’s scarcity and urgency involved, right? We’ve talked about this. Scarcity is the quantity of items and urgency is limited time. So those two things are always going to work no matter what. Then if you can come up with other incentives, like a special kind of discount or a bonus item or a bundle giveaway or- be creative. This is why musicians can be so good at this is because we’re creative. We can think outside of the box. So $25,000 in revenue just for the two week preorder period. I was really happy with that considering that came from a list of 2300 people.

I have a whole bunch of other stats like average order value and stuff like that, but I’ll save that for our elite students. I think if you’re curious, I mean I have breakdown. I have so many stats here, but I think one of the most surprising things, if you’re thinking of, “Well what was your biggest selling item?” You might think it’s something really expensive. You might think it was some kind of crazy bundle or something. Actually my top selling item that brought in $5,300 one item and was an autographed digipak. A CD, a physical CD that’s signed by me.

The second item was a limited edition vinyl. Third item was a jewel case CD. Then the fourth item was handmade candles that I had made. So I actually hand-poured, handmade these candles; we’ll talk about that in another episode. We have to do number one just on the candles, but-

27:13 CJ: I have them, and they’re beautiful, by the way.

27:16 Leah: Oh, you like them?

27:17 CJ: I love them, yeah.

27:19 Leah: I don’t know if you’re a candle guy, but if I make it, you get it. So, that’s how it works.

27:21 CJ: Yeah, no, I’ve got candles. Absolutely. Yeah.

27:25 Leah: Cool.

27:25 CJ: But they’re Leah candles, so what’s not to like, right?

27:29 Leah: Yeah. Right? Then the fifth biggest revenue item was, I call it a super download. Where instead of just getting the MP3s, I make this massive mega zip file and it comes with all the different formats, FLAC and wave and MP3 and the instrumental version and the cover art and the booklets and singles and a whole- it’s a massive zip file. The nice thing about doing stuff like a super download is that it’s pure profit because it’s a digital item. It doesn’t cost me anything to ship to them. It doesn’t cost me anything. It just is a pure profit item, and yet people want it. This is amazing. An extra $1,500 in my pocket that can go toward ads or go towards my business, I can reinvest it. Even though they’re Spotify, they can stream it all day. They still want this.

28:23 CJ: Right.

28:23 Leah: Okay, all right. So those are my top five selling products during my pre-launch and I don’t want to bore people to death. I hope this isn’t boring for anybody, I hope you find this interesting and fascinating, but it was kind of similar stuff during the album launch as well. So it was very similar items. The autograph digipaks, the CDs, candles, super download. It’s very similar stuff. So I said to my marketing manager, Jordan, “Would you ever conclude that people don’t believe that physical music sells after seeing this?”

29:05 CJ: Yeah. Well, that’s what stands up to what you just described is how many of those items- except for the last thing, the least of the best things was the digital download. The things that sold were different versions of CDs and then vinyl. So it doesn’t get any more physical than that. I mean people never thought vinyl was gone for good. Right? Video killed the radio star so that, that’s done. Nope, it’s all back. People are buying it. All to say that if you are in a particular unique musical niche, which a lot of our students are, your fans tend to be a little high brow about this sort of stuff and they enjoy the physical component to the music, as well. So I think that’s, that’s all very impressive. So how does this relate to then holiday sales in terms of your Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

29:59 Leah: Like I was saying, it was pretty intense. One takeaway that I have was if you’re not releasing a holiday album and if you have any say as to which time of year you’re going to release an album, I would say keep it away from being super close to Black Friday, Cyber Monday. So it’s stay out of the end of November and the December. Now in my case I didn’t really have a choice, it’s a holiday album. You have to release it that time of year, that’s the whole point.

30:34 CJ: Right.

30:35 Leah: If it’s not a holiday album, I’d say stay away from those two months because there’s a couple of logistical problems you run into. So for example, one of the big challenges we had was thinking of the crowd funders who just bought the album, bought these bundles at really the top price and then if they were to see the exact same offer on Black Friday, like 50% off or something. What you’re communicating, again from a psychological standpoint, is that my first supporters, my top supporters who believe in me are going to pay the most, and people who didn’t buy for me, you’re going to pay 50% less on a sale. That’s not how you want to nurture people.

31:17 CJ: Right.

31:17 Leah: That’s not a good relationship. This was the logistical problem we really had to think through. How can we do this without basically pissing off all the people who just supported me and spent a ton of money from September and even during the preorder? How can we do these Black Friday and holiday sales and still maintain our integrity and keep these supporters coming back time and time again? Now I think to an extent, everybody understands what Black Friday is. Everybody expects these sales to happen, but this is why I say if you have any choice to space out the distance between an album release and Black Friday, it’s a good idea to do that. I would say, at least not in the month of November. Mine was literally two weeks before Black Friday.

So for that reason I will really consider what I do then if I ever come up with a second holiday album, I’m going to really think this through a little bit more deep than I did because it did create a problem. It created a bit of a sticky situation for us where it’s like, well we have to offer a discount, that’s the whole point of Black Friday.

What we ended up doing was not discounting certain items from the album collection. When I say album collection, I mean I had like a whole whack of items, I mean we had so many different pieces of artwork that went- different hoodies and tee shirts and stuff and there just were certain items we just chose not to discount, just to make sure that we wouldn’t upset certain fans who had just bought it for a top price.

32:50 CJ: Sure.

32:50 Leah: So did I make less sales because of that? It’s likely. It was still my top selling product. So for example, we didn’t discount the digipak or this or the jewel case. They were not discounted, but it was still my top selling item. So that made Jordan and I think if we had discounted it, it would probably would have flown off the shelf, but that was a sacrifice I was willing to make to keep my integrity with my audience and I hope that’s something that they will take note of and go, “Okay, she didn’t discount that. So she was honoring the fact that we supported her at the top price.”

Those are little nuances that you think through when you become an online musician and you become a marketer and you become an expert at marketing your music. You are thinking through these kinds of details. If you’re not thinking through those details, you’ll learn pretty quick because people will be very expressive with you as to how upset they are; they just will. So that’s one big lesson.

33:51 CJ: Did you do anything different this year for holiday sales than previous years?

33:57 Leah: Yeah. In that, well, like I said, because of the timing of the crowdfunding campaign, album launch going rolling straight into Black Friday, Cyber Monday, we just noticed kind of a fatigue in my warm audience by the end of it, and rightfully so. I mean I have, I’ve been pushing sales and campaigning pretty much half the year. So at this point normally I’d be rolling out another sale to them already, like a holiday sale that’s just like a general holiday sale and we decided to actually cool it with the warm audience.

34:33 Leah: So that’s one thing I’m doing differently is you know, you have a plan and then you assess the situation and this is where using a little intuition comes in. It’s like, “Hey, I don’t want to burn them out to where they just completely end subscribed, don’t want to follow me at all,” but it’s having a sensitivity and it’s really just having your finger on the pulse of your music business and of your audience where you know when it’s time to maybe back off a little. So we’ll bring a sale back in for New Year’s. So I’m giving them a few weeks, but we’re still going hard on the cold audiences right now because they’re doing well.

35:09 CJ: Right.

35:11 Leah: As far as like doing anything specifically different, it’s very similar to what I did last year in that I picked certain products that I wanted to feature. One thing I am doing different is featuring some of these items almost on their own sales page where there’s more attention on them. It’s kind of just more of like a long form sales page versus just sending them to the store and saying, “here’s a discount on the entire store,” even though there was pretty much. Instead of doing that, I picked a few core items and we put them on a longer form sales page where we could kind of explain more, just really focus on these items and it did well. So those are some of the tests that we’re running and as we get into more of our post-mortem meetings, I’m sure there’s going to be more that is unveiled and changes that we make for next year.

36:05 CJ: So email was still king at the end of the day?

36:08 Leah: Oh yeah. Oh yeah, most of all this came from email. Even my warm audience, we were retargeting them through ads that came from the email list.

36:16 CJ: Yeah, and I think people can sometimes get confused, Leah, who are not familiar with how everything gets done. Granted, different businesses operate differently. There’s people who are selling t-shirts, for example, who aren’t building a relationship with an audience. They’re just running ads to a cold audience and just hoping that they’ll capitalize like on a trend that’s going on, or maybe somebody puts out some baby Yoda shirts or something because that’s popular; they just seize moments and all that sort of stuff.

Obviously this is what we’re doing is something much, much different. People can sometimes think because they see these social media ads all the time, that Leah is turning and burning with social media advertising and not realizing, again, even though you said it a hundred times, if you said it once, email is king in relation to sales. That doesn’t mean you’re not running a ton of Facebook ads.

37:14 Leah: Oh, yeah.

37:14 CJ: Those have more to do with the customer journey. They have more to do with bringing people into your sphere of influence, into your funnel, that sort of thing. So as it relates to holiday sales, can you even comment on- because obviously you must’ve run some kind of advertising on social.

37:33 Leah: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. That was a huge part of the strategy. So basically for every campaign- so I ran all my own ads during the crowdfunding. They did very well. Then Jordan came on board right at the end of the crowdfunding campaign. Anyways, during our pre-launch, basically, every little mini-campaign that we’re were running, so preorder sale, album, launch sale, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, we have ads for every single one of these sales and we roll them out, roll them out, roll them out, roll them out. Most of the ad spend is going toward warm audiences. We’re uploading my email list to Facebook, we’re showing them the specific ads I want them to see and so even if they don’t open an email, they’re going to see it in their newsfeed or wherever they are on Instagram.

So yeah, it’s a super important, I’m reinforcing, “Hey, the sale is on,” I get custom graphics made for these and I don’t make them myself. You know, is one of those things that if you’re not a graphic designer, definitely outsource this. There’s so many people out there who can do this, but if you had to use something, you know you can use tools out there, Canva and different ones that are pretty good, and just focusing on getting those graphics made for each mini-campaign that you’re running. I think that’s a huge part is the creative aspect of the ads. I want to say it’s almost more important than the ad copy. They’re visual platforms or social platforms. The creative, whether they’re videos or images or a mixture or whatever it is you’re doing, even slideshows have worked well for me, the creative part of it is a big contributor to the revenue and the success of the ads. So yeah, I mean that gives people a lot to work with even just there.

39:28 CJ: So cause we’ve come to the end of this, anything you’re going to do differently in 2020? Obviously you’re already thinking about the upcoming year.

39:36 Leah: Yeah. Well one thing that I always do is preplan all the sales I’m going to be doing for the year. So my annual planning meeting is coming up and if you are a musician, even if you don’t really have your music off the ground, you should do an annual planning session with yourself or your band or your spouse or whatever. Do an annual planning meeting at that point. Because of where I’m at in my music business, I plan out all my big projects, I plan out the specific promotions I’ll be running. Kind of reverse engineer that into quarters, I kind of break the year up into quarters and we have an episode on this where we talk about how to plan your music year. In fact we will link that in the show notes. We have some resources and a guide for you to walk you through that.

Now’s the time to start thinking about it. So as for what I’m going to do in 2020, during that annual planning meeting is where we kind of hammer out all those decisions. “Hey, what went well? What did not go well?” We have a meeting about it and then we work that into how are we going to make 2020 different?

I’m going to say that I’ll probably be doing a little bit less in my music business this coming year only because I’m turning my attention a little bit to a couple other focuses. I’m probably going to run a spring sale, I’ll probably run a summer sale, and then I will run a big winter holiday Black Friday sale again. So I mean at least three big ones where you’re really pushing and promoting certain items.

I don’t plan on releasing any music in 2020 so that makes my life so much easier. I did that two years in a row and I definitely need a break from that. I will write, though, and do a few other things. I can’t go into crazy detail of how I’m going to change my strategies, I think I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing to be honest. It’s working so I’ll do more of it.

41:30 CJ: Oh good. No, that’s awesome results, Leah. It’s what people expect and again, qualified with what you mentioned earlier about, “Hey, don’t think that you have to match these particular results. Don’t try and think that if you just imitate what she does word for word, that you’re going to get the same results.” We just had an article come out, issue number six of the Inner Circle Membership that we publish, and if you’re not on it, you should check that out. We talked about something that you had noted, which was that coming out of your campaigns at the end of the year, you said that 50% of marketing is intuition. So, that’s something you can’t copy. You can’t copy intuition, and your intuition as an artist, as a creative person has to be applied to your audience. So, Leah’s is as applied to her audience, and your audience is not her audience, and her audience is not your audience.

So there’s so much you can glean, principally, that she teaches in the courses, like Tom in elite, but you can’t just go in there and try to think that you’re just going to imitate, just mimic, just ape what she does and somehow get even a semblance. You may find it ends up being an abysmal failure because you’re missing more than half of what’s going on. She knows her audience and she’s operating out of her own sensibilities, her own intuition, making changes and adjustments on the fly. So you may be adapting to something that she did that was just a sudden decision she made based on data she was seeing at the time and using her gut marketing instinct and may not even be applicable any more for her or you.

43:12 Leah: Yeah.

43:12 CJ: So, guys, again, when we teach something we will highlight what is a principal, what is tried and true, what is an absolute, what is a commandment as opposed to just the testaments. So we love, Leah, hearing your testimony. We love hearing your results, but we don’t want to discourage people.

43:33 Leah: Right, and that’s why I didn’t share all the numbers from all the campaigns that I ran here because again, I’m not here to say look at how good I am. Look at how- look at me. This is not why I’m doing this. I do want to show you what’s possible. I do want to show you. That’s why I shared just during the prelaunch was like a $25,000 two weeks, but like I’m not here to try and make you feel intimidated or like, “Oh my gosh, I’m not, I’m not even doing $1,000 a month.” Hey, I was there and it wasn’t that long ago and anything is possible. So I share with you a little bit, because I want you to know, “Okay, wow, this is doable. Someone like her, homeschool mom of five kids who doesn’t tour, she can do this. Then I can learn this too. I can learn this,” and guess what? You can do hard things. It’s a learning curve. It’s all part of it.

44:25 CJ: That’s right. Well Leah, thank you so much for sharing those results and guys, listen, if you’d like to us a favor, we would love to have your review of this podcast. We do read them in our team meetings. We take your comments very, very seriously. So go to the player that you use to listen to this podcast, leave a review, click some stars of that’s what they offer. Also, feel free if you’re in any of our Facebook groups, to also go in there and leave a comment when you see the show posted. If you have any questions or interesting topics you’d like to see us cover in the future, you can also mention those as well, but always a pleasure to be with you guys and we will see you next time.

Episode #077: An Interview With Lindsay Schoolcraft (Elite Student)

Keyboardist and vocalist for the internationally popular heavy metal band, Cradle of Filth, Lindsay Schoolcraft joins C. J. to discuss how she’s using the principles taught in the Savvy Musician Academy to launch her own album without a record label.

Lindsay is an experienced recording and touring artist and speaks directly to the pain points that are wreaking havoc on the music industry. This is an inspiring episode!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • The problems with rapid change in the record industry.
  • The financial reality that’s hitting touring musicians.
  • The confusion surrounding artists.
  • Working with a Grammy-winning artist.
  • How Lindsay decided to do it on her own.
  • How SMA was life-changing for Lindsay.
  • The toll that’s taken by touring.
  • Great awakenings to music marketing.
  • Lindsay’s spending and profits.


“You go on tour and you find out how much your crew and your bus driver makes and some people just come home breaking even and that’s not right.” — @lindzriot [0:06:09]

“There’s always been an injustice to the music industry.” — @metalmotivation [0:07:12]

“We know we have to be online but once we’re online, a lot of us just don’t know what to do.” — @lindzriot [0:07:22]

“I’m doing it all online. I’m going to do it digital, screw the record labels, they can’t tell me what to do. You’re not my real dad.” — @lindzriot [0:12:59]

“I refuse to allow some other thing that thinks it’s greater than me to take control of my music career.” — @lindzriot [0:15:10]

“I’m an artist and I just want to put out art and hope people enjoy it.” — @lindzriot [0:16:35]

“When it comes to building your own music empire, you want to minimize the mental and emotional challenges as much as you can.” — @metalmotivation [0:20:20]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Belzebubs (Lindsay’s cartoon character) — https://www.facebook.com/belzebubsofficial/

Lindsay Schoolcraft — https://www.facebook.com/schoolcraftofficial/

Book A Call — callsma.com

Click For Full Transcript

00:21 CJ: Welcome once again to the Savvy Musician Show. This is CJ Ortiz. I’m the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. I also get to host this awesome podcast, the Music Marketing podcast on the interwebs. Now as I mentioned in the last episode, we’re doing a series of interviews with students of our Elite program to give you a behind the scenes look at how some new success stories are happening in the new music industry.

I’m really, really excited about this one today because it’s somebody whose story is really unique because she’s already in an existing popular touring band and she is starting now her own project. I’m going to tell you a whole lot more about that with her as I welcome Lindsay Schoolcraft to the podcast. Thank you, Lindsay, for being here.

01:12 Lindsay: Thank you for having me. I’m excited.

01:14 CJ: Isn’t this awesome? I was talking to Lindsay just offline before we started the recording and the electricity entered the room immediately with her. Because Lindsay this is such a crucial time, not just in your own personal musical journey, but in the music industry itself. I shared something, Lindsay, in the last episode of the podcast talking about a recent article that… It was in Guitar World Magazine. I talked to Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins who said if he was to give 60 seconds of advice to an up and coming musician, he would say, “Don’t worry about playing down the street. Focus 100% of your efforts on the internet.”

Of course at Savvy Musician Academy, that’s something we’ve been trying to put out there for a long time. You’ve been a student in the Elite program for some time now. Now, give everybody a little bit of background. What band is it that you play in and then let’s get into what I just mentioned.

02:13 Lindsay: Okay, so for the past seven years I have been the keyboardist and the backing vocalist for Cradle of Filth, which was very… It’s still very established, but very well established in the ’90s type band. Heavy metal, extreme Gothic, heavy metal.

02:27 CJ: Again, keyboardist for Cradle of Filth, for anybody like me who’s a metalhead, you know very well who Cradle of Filth is and that’s huge. Now you are about to venture off into your own music projects already underway. You’ve got this debut solo album that we’re going to talk about, but before we get to that, I want to go back to the discussion we were having offline because it was so good that we had to just say, let’s save this for the podcast itself.

I mentioned what Billy said. You’ve been pursuing the online space. You’re doing your solo project this way. But you’ve also got an insider’s look at what’s happening right now with record labels and bands. Tell us about that.

03:08 Lindsay: Okay, so being in the metal industry, there’s about four major labels that run the monopoly on the market. The problem is, is they’re changing right now, and they’re not changing fast enough. The biggest issue is a lot of the old-schoolers are ready to retire, they’re tired, they want to retire. The new people are coming into the labels, and they don’t know where they belong. They’re like, “Hey, we need to update and do all this digital marketing stuff.” And it’s not being met fast enough.

So right now, I see my friends feeling the pressure of not making enough money, bands breaking up, people wanting to quit. It’s really upsetting me. I’ve been reaching out to people and I say, “Your career isn’t over. Check out this podcast. Check out Savvy because I’ve done it. I’ve seen it. I know you’re sick of touring. It can be done just give it a chance.” Because there’s so many talented people out there who are great singers and songwriters and they’re just ready to quit. I’m like, “Well, that’s not fair.” For me, I’m being selfish but for your fans.

I know that they don’t want to quit music, but everyone’s just feeling the massive crunch of the labels not transforming fast enough right now, especially in heavy metal. The fans are concerned and confused too. They’re like, how can I help? It’s unbelievable what’s happening right now.

04:25 CJ: Yes, I remember Leah telling me one time about a year or so ago, how she was approached by one of the major labels. They were interested in her success and wanted to do an album with her and all she did was go to their website and see that they weren’t using a Facebook pixel on their website. She said, “There ain’t no way I’m giving you any of my music because if you don’t understand the importance, for example, of something so minor as a Facebook pixel, that tells us loads. That means you don’t understand anything about digital marketing right now.” Which is how she achieved her success, which is the approach you’re now taking in your life.

It’s so interesting because you’re highlighting this current phase of the history of the music industry since Napster. Napster came in, that did its work, then you had iTunes come in, and then that had its effect. Then you had streaming Pandora, Spotify and the like, then that had its effect. YouTube having its effect, copyright issues, all of that. As you said, during this whole time, all these guys and gals who started these metal record labels, for example, well they’re into their retirement years. They’re ready to… Enough of this.

05:44 Lindsay: Yeah, the ’80s were fantastic and now it’s over.

05:47 CJ: So now you got the new breed coming in, and they’re caught between because they learned the old way of doing things. Now the pressure is on because the results aren’t coming and so now, bands are touring to try and make a difference and try to sell merch but now the labels are taking huge percentages of that too.

06:05 Lindsay: Exactly, and that’s a problem.

06:08 CJ: Like you said, they’re not making more than the bus driver.

06:09 Lindsay: Yes, you go on tour and you find out how much your crew and your bus driver makes and some people just come home breaking even and that’s not right. Especially after all that fan money. The fans thought they were putting the money towards the artists only to find out it went into the whole hiring of the staff to get the artists out on tour. It’s just… It’s wrong. It feels so wrong. I feel that from time to time as well. I understand entirely.

06:37 CJ: In fact, I mentioned to you offline, in getting someone like yourself to talk about this here on the podcast, it’s… and talk about your own story and what you’re doing with your own music marketing. It’s not just for you and it’s not just because this is a great selling point for the Savvy Musician Academy. I can hear in you this sense of justice. That it is unjust for musicians who… Not just in this modern era, but since the outset. Motown artists and even Metallica just recently got their publishing rights back.

07:12 Lindsay: My God, that’s brutal.

07:12 CJ: There’s always been an injustice to the music industry. You seem to be… You’re feeling that for a lot of your fellow artists.

07:20 Lindsay: Yes, and that’s the thing. We know we have to be online but once we’re online, a lot of us just don’t know what to do and we’re like, “I don’t want to show my personal life to these people online.” Everyone’s just confused. It’s like herding cats right now. Nobody knows what they want or what to do. I’m like, “Guys, hello, over here.”

07:37 CJ: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Tell us a little bit… Going back now, of course, let me just update people on where you are right now. Your debut solo album, Martyr just recently came out, right?

07:50 Lindsay: Yes.

07:51 CJ: Ethereal gothic metal, and who did you write this record with? Somebody that everybody in the industry so to speak, should know?

07:58 Lindsay: Yes. I got really lucky. Rocky Grey who is Grammy Award-winning, the original drummer of Evanescence, he approached me back in the beginning of 2016. He’s like, “Hey, do you want to work on music together?” And I nearly fell out of my computer chair. I was just like, “This is ridiculous.” But I was open to collaboration because to be fair, I can do pretty much anything minus the band structure. He knows guitars, bass drums.

It’s like, yes, let’s do this. I went from a cover to a few songs to a full-blown album in a year. I did get really lucky and I’m very grateful for that. He’s onboard for the second album. He’s just so wonderful to work with. It’s weird working with one of your idols who you totally idolized in high school. Strange stuff.

08:40 CJ: Yes, Rocky has done so much. Other bands as well. He’s a… like you said a versatile all-around musician and arranger and songwriter and all of the above. I was thrilled to hear when you first told me when you and I had a one-on-one coaching call at one point. You told me… One of the first things you told me that blew me away that you and Rocky were working together. Because I’m looking at you, and of course you do kind of… You get that Evanescence vibe so to speak. Gothic element, obviously much different but I just thought wow, what a great… Because Evanescence is doing their thing.

09:16 Lindsay: Yes, they’ve moved on. They’re more in a pop element now, which is cool, people still dig it. I love that. That’s great.

09:23 CJ: Yes, so Lindsay, here you are now. You’re also a comic book character, aren’t you?

09:30 Lindsay: Yes, I still have to pinch myself about that. That was JP Ahonen. He has this comic book series called Belzebubs. It’s the struggles… Anyone in Savvy would love it. It’s the struggles of being in a band, but having a family and trying to get things off the ground and recording the album. It’s really cute and I think everyone can relate to if not the teen romance between the daughter and the drummer in the band. Just the struggles of being in a band.

My character came in and she does exactly what I do. She’s guest vocaling and she’s just being part of the band. It’s really cool. I’ve made a few appearances in the comic book. I’m in the animated music video, which actually just won an award over in Scandinavia, which I think is just so fantastic. That was just a huge opportunity I jumped on. I was totally honored to be a part of it. I think that just comes with building a relationship with the comic book character because I am technically in a black metal band, and it’s about a black metal band. It really makes fun of it too and I love it.

10:31 CJ: Well, that’s a great segue. You are in a very… One of the most popular black metal bands in the world, Cradle of Filth. There’s not a festival that goes on that you don’t see Cradle of Filth listed and of course, obviously, you’re on tours. You just got off a tour and so you’ve got a very busy life but you’re launching this solo project, which you’ve done this month. The Martyr album release and you’ve got more coming and so you’ve been now with Savvy Musician Academy for some time. Let’s go back there. When did Leah first appear on your radar?

11:05 Lindsay: Leah has been in my life for almost a decade. When she released her first album Of Earth and Angels, I was actually writing. That was my in to the industry. I used to review music and interview people. That’s how I built my network. It’s a great way to get in. The press world does need people that care. I think that’s important. It was all-consuming and I wasn’t getting paid for it so eventually, I moved out of it. But during that time, I met Leah and someone at the zine I was working with.

He’s like, “You would love this. You have to listen to this. Listen to this album.” And I’m like, “Okay.” And I did and I was like, “Who is this person? They’re incredible.” I loved her first album. I really did. I still do. I have the old copy of it before she revamped it. We stayed in touch. We have a lot in common, even though she’s folk and I’m goth, it’s very fantasy based in both worlds. I play the harp, she plays the harp. We never run out of things to talk about, especially in the business industry.

What happened was, my story is crazy. I’m a very Joan Jett story where she just kept getting rejected and she’s like, “I’m going to be persistent.” Now Joan Jett’s a rock icon. I was banging on the doors of labels for four months, and the labels are going through their awful growing pains right now and no one was getting back to me. I was working this counter job at a drug store in the makeup department. If you can tell by my face, I do makeup too.

I was like, “Why am I so unhappy with my life?” There was that aha moment when I’m like, I don’t have a release date for my album. That’s why I’m so miserable. Granted, it was in January and it’s minus 28 outside. Reason to be miserable in Canada that time of year. I just went… I went home that night, I stayed up till 3:00 AM, I did a brain dump into a Word document about how I wanted this release to look. I’m doing it all online. I’m going to do it digital, screw the record labels, they can’t tell me what to do. You’re not my real dad.

I got really defiant in that case. Then I’m like, “Leah is really good at this stuff. Maybe I should just shoot her an email and a text and be like, hey, do you have 10 minutes to talk on the phone?” So I got a hold of her and I said… I was like, “Hey, do you got 10 minutes? Can I send you my release plan?” She’s like, “Yes send it over.” Then she texts me back. She’s like, “No, I’m calling you tomorrow night. We don’t have 10 minutes. We need an hour.”

13:29 CJ: Oh my gosh, that’s Leah. That is so Leah.

13:33 Lindsay: She was great. She was awesome. So supportive, got me into the Elite program. It has been life-changing. It’s been a realization of who I really am and what I’m really doing.

13:44 CJ: Wow. Now, okay, so you guys go way back. Obviously you’re able to keep track of what she’s doing. She’s keeping track of what you’re doing. When did the coin drop then for you as far as doing it this way, doing the Savvy Musician marketing approach to your own career?

14:01 Lindsay: It’s been a huge push because I’m in the industry, especially heavy metal. I see what’s happening. I was like, you know what, I do my best work when I’m home. I can play my harp. I can write music, I have a little recording station. It’s dirty and cheap and it just does the job until there’s real production. I love doing social media, but when I’m on tour, I’m haggard and tired all the time. I don’t feel good about dropping videos with not enough energy onto my Insta Story talking about something. I could come off as cranky, I’m very sarcastic.

I do do my best work from home and honestly, touring is getting more and more unrealistic and expensive. It’s really taking a toll on my health, physically and mentally. Tour schedules now, I’m really in with a lot of the metal bands that are consistently on tour and I am in that same spot like I don’t know how you do it. I’m like, I don’t know either. Just even this year, I was so determined. I was doing the homework from the course on tour while I was just burned out, and I was like, “No, this has to happen. I refuse to allow some other thing that thinks it’s greater than me to take control of my music career.”

It was hard. It was really hard. On days off, I’d spend 10 hours in front of my computer doing my homework at a hotel lobby. The guys in the band were like, “What is she doing? Go get a drink.” I don’t drink but go out, go watch a movie, go relax in your bunk. I’m like, “No, I am determined to do this. Screw record labels.” I was so angry. But that’s the thing. I’m just seeing the way the industry is going and it’s just getting a little bit unrealistic. The old school ways are really starting to crumble. I was like, “No, you know what, I want to stay home. I want to do this from home.” I would love to tour don’t get me wrong, I would love to go but I want to do it on my own time when my health allows, when funds allow, when the demand is there.

I love doing live shows. I just got offered earlier this year to go to Australia for a week with just my electric harp. That was so much fun. I would love doing that but at the same time, I’m like, “Oh, I want to bring my band.” but that’s expensive and that takes time to build the money and the clout for that, do you know what I mean?

16:16 CJ: Yes, sure. Absolutely. Okay, so you’re still doing the program, you’re still taking advantage of everything that’s there. I mean, what difference has this made for you especially with this recent album launch?

16:32 Lindsay: It was so self-realizing. I’m an artist and I just want to put out art and hope people enjoy it. When it came to finding out what your micro-niche was, and then asking your fans about you. My fans told me, they’re like, “You’re pretty much the gothic queen of darkness. Your genre is gothic rock.” Under symphonic metal, female-fronted and all that fun stuff. if you understand the course it’s like a system to find your micro-niche. My micro-niche is ethereal gothic rock. I’m like, “I’m okay with that. That sounds wicked.” I was just going to go out and get really dumb merch made mugs, scarps notebooks, candles.

My fans didn’t want any of that. I’m like, I want that. When I go to the dollar store I stock up. They were like, “No, we just want… We want t-shirts, hoodies, CDs, vinyl, patches, stickers, posters.” I’m like, “Done. This is what you want? Cool beans, I will give it to you. The other thing though is and I was talking to Leah about it when I went through the whole aspect of Facebook.

When I did my fan survey, I’m like on this pie chart, nobody uses Facebook anymore. Facebook is going to be obsolete. It’s going to be 25%. I did the survey. It came back and my fans, 55% of them prefer to use Facebook. I was like, again fell out of my computer chair. I was like, “Okay, wow.” Then when I learned all about the Facebook business manager and pixels and running ads and targeted ads and hashtags, I was just like I don’t think any of the record labels I hang out with after shows and schmooze and mingle with know anything about this.

This is what is so vital for your career. Why waste money advertising? You don’t even know what the heck you’re advertising first of all, but then… I am a believer that listen, make your art but nobody is original anymore. You sound like an amalgamation of three other artists. Get over it. We’re not original anymore, especially being a goth. We are not original.

18:36 CJ: Right.

18:36 Lindsay: Then just finding out what bands you sound like. Your fans are out there. They want your music. Ever since I started running ads. I’m not a big fan of Zuckerberg. I’m not and I mean to him behind the scenes, but I looked into advertising and what the labels charge and what advertising looks like. It’s so expensive. Zuckerberg is giving us musicians a huge discount. If we know what we’re doing. It’s ridiculous.

When I told a friend of mine in Australia, who’s also in digital marketing, I’m like, “I spend $90 a month on ads and that’s it. Every month I get about 6000 followers and I get this many click-throughs.” She’s like, “$90 a month.” She’s like, “That’s just a grocery bill.” I’m like, “I know.” And I’m vegan. I live off of twigs and berries. I don’t have an expensive grocery bill, this is fine.

The course really just… Oh, man. It’s been a journey. I feel like a whole new person. I’m confident. Confidence is practice but it’s also nurtured. Your confidence needs to be nurtured that you’re not crazy and you are thinking the right way or doing the right thing.

19:43 CJ: I said the… and I interviewed someone, another one of the students in the last episode, one of the things that she talked about was this support element, with the coaches and things like that. Obviously, you know Leah personally. The secret to success in anything is you need principles which are taught in any sort of course. But then you need coaching. You need someone to tell you whether you’re doing it right, something that you’re missing, otherwise, you get trapped in your own head. You start this vicious cycle of self-defeat, you’ve got enough challenges as it is. So when it comes to building your own music empire, you want to minimize the mental and emotional challenges as much as you can.

This is reinforced in the course itself. Now for you, you’re obviously very excited about what’s happening. You just came out with the new album. How empowered now, do you feel about moving forward into the next year?

20:43 Lindsay: It was… I will say first off, especially with the heavy touring schedule, it was very tough and it was a lot of sacrifice. I dubbed this the year of no fun because I didn’t do any sightseeing. I just stayed on my laptop. But I always knew… I’m like, I trust Leah. I trust savvy. I know the outcome of this is going to be really good. I am the definition of grit. I really am. I stuck it out. There were times when it was very hard. Going back to coaching, in this industry, there’s not a lot of leaders or coaches, it’s just a lot of people doing the thing and going home.

That’s not wrong, especially when it comes to musicians, crew and people who run the business side of the industry. There’s very few good people in this industry, who I do keep in consistent communication with. But that first week of the launch was a bit messy, but it went over really well overall. Then when I finally… The first week, I recouped, record labels have to recoup their expenses. I don’t mind talking numbers, but I spent about $25,000 in my own money that I saved and invested into this program and into my product and into my team. The first week I saw all that money back, just the first week.

21:50 CJ: Wow.

21:52 Lindsay: It was like, “Okay, I just recouped. Cool beans. Let’s run some ads and do some funnels and see what we can do.”

21:59 CJ: Right.

21:59 Lindsay: You know what I mean? That’s the next chapter.

22:01 CJ: If you can do that much, then if you can move it an inch, as they say, right, we can certainly move it a mile.

22:08 Lindsay: Precisely.

22:08 CJ: It’s been interesting, myself serving just as a coach and of course hosting this podcast and all of that. It’s awesome to meet all of the incredible students. But the reason why I’m here is because I’ve been doing this thing myself. I’ve got 30 years in advertising and marketing myself, but then I also did the motivational speaking professional development thing, and that’s the metal motivation. Heavy metal motivator. That’s how Leah and I worked together for a number of years, like yourself about a decade.

I watched her go from… struggling. Her and her husband struggling to make ends meet, facing bankruptcy, being advised to declare bankruptcy to where she is now. I could verify the process. I could watch this. I could see the success almost predicted in a way because I knew she was following the established principles of marketing. In other words, what you’re being armed with, Lindsay is not something she made up. You know what I mean? This is something that she’s…

I can tell you from again, 30 years of doing this, she’s using the standard principles of direct marketing that were used in the ’60s, used in the ’70s, used in the ’80s, and the ’90s all apply to this new space. Tell me then about things you’re learning about for example copywriting and how you handle your social media and all that sort of stuff.

23:35 Lindsay: Well, I mean, here’s the thing. I’ve always been very organic with my audience and growing it. Especially in all the time I’ve been touring the world, past seven years and up on the hashtags wishing people a happy birthday. I appreciate and love my fans, and I nurture that and they come to me and I’m like, “Fairy goth mother. Come under my batwing. Tell me about your problems.” I love my fans so much. I really do. I have a lot of really good connections and personal relationships with my fans.

But Savvy helped me bring it to the next level. I didn’t realize I could write emails like I was sending a personal text message. I want to keep that connection with my fan base. Funny story. I was like, “Okay, I’m stuck in Australia before a wedding after a tour. I’m going to New Zealand, I’m having a vacation.” That was enough. That was a business retreat and I literally finished a lot of the bonus course material with Savvy because I was just so fired up. I’m like, “I need to do this thing.” I was little warrior mode. Might have been in New Zealand, I don’t know, the Maori culture there.

I have no idea, but yes. I went ahead and I was like, “No, this is just mind-blowing.” My fans get it and they’re very supportive. I understand a lot of people don’t want emails all the time. That’s fine. My mailing list is growing and I’m having this wicked connection with my fans and they reply and I reply, and it’s just nice. I love email because, here’s the thing, and I think musicians need to understand this right now. I didn’t know this until I opened my Drip.

Drip is the e-commerce mailing platform, which I don’t mind paying for after I opened and saw these numbers. I was never a numbers person. I hate math. I am dyslexic. You can tell I’m stumbling over my words a lot in this podcast. I was like, “Okay, I’ll do this.” I imported all my old emails and I started getting things working. Then about a week after when I recouped opened Drip. It’s like 80% of your sales came from Drip.

25:34 CJ: Wow.

25:35 Lindsay: I’m like, okay well, “Screw social media. Unless you’re paying for targeted ad I’m not doing this anymore.” The thing is, going back to Leah, we have to praise our queen. I was a fan of hers for the longest time I get it. I love fantasy folk metal. I love folk metal. In my mind, I am a dark queen elf saving the kingdom. I get it. As her fan, I understand that micro-niche, that culture.

I get it, I used to play World of Warcraft as an elf. I get it. I was like, no, she’s not wrong because I’m a fan and I see how she gets my fandom going. I won’t lie, I’ve dropped $100 on her here and there, I love her music and everything. Then I see the business side of her. I’m like, I need to be doing that for myself because I know that how I’m a fan of her music, those people are out there and they need me to be their gothic queen providing the spooky vibes and the spooky jams.

I knew that, I just know… I think that is something a lot of musicians don’t do. Some of them do. Some of them don’t or some of them know it and they just don’t tap into it. Remember when you were a music fan, what did you want? You know what I mean? Then putting yourself in those shoes and doing it for yourself. But that’s the thing that comes with that confidence. A lot of us are just such humble, sensitive creatives, we don’t step into those shoes enough, I think.

27:00 CJ: This is so important. You mentioned earlier some of your fellow musicians who are like, I don’t want to share my life like that on social media, et cetera. You just want to be the artist hidden away, trust the labels to do everything for you. Well, the times are changing and maybe things will develop on the label side of things, maybe they’ll come up to speed, new labels will come about who are more devoted to the artists themselves and share a bigger piece of the pie. But until then, what’s going to make you doubly attractive as an artist is if you have a sizable following.

A label is always going to be more interested in you if you have the following. A publishing label is going to be interested in you as an author if you’ve got a sizable following. It is in your interest to do the very basics of audience building. Like you said, you see the purpose of social media. You see the purpose of an email. You said, “Wow, I’m getting 80% of my sales via email.” And Leah’s recent crowdfunding campaign. 30 days her goal was $50,000. For 30 days she raised $83,000. In one week, seven days through Drip, the program you’re using. Seven days email campaign $27,299 for her album.

It’s like okay, well, what’s possible? Everything is possible because again, she does not tour. You’re on stages. You have… You mentioned a cool story that we actually shared in one of the previous podcasts where you were on a flight. What was it? You’re on a flight and you were recognized? Tell us that story.

28:35 Lindsay: Okay, this is just weird because I’ve always been known as the keyboardist to cradle filth, right. We were in Australia and I started running targeted ads, just with what music I had on band camp at the time. My Shopify wasn’t up yet. I was just running them and I do have this crazy underground little following in Australia. We’re on tour and I’m haggard. We were up at five in the morning. I’m just hiding in my sunglasses and my hoodie and my jacket. I just stumbled onto the plane and I’m like, I’m going to go find my seat and nap.

I was just like, I’m too tired. I can’t do this. Usually, people recognize our lead singer. He’s a goth icon. He was huge in the ’90s. He’s a great poet and front person. So I’m sitting there, and then this girl comes up to me. She’s blushing and she’s giggling. She’s a flight attendant, and I’m like, “What’s going on?” She’s like, “Hey, I tried to find you vegan food, but we don’t have anything.” It was less than three hours. They don’t feed you, right? On a flight. If it’s over three hours, they have to provide a meal.

I was like, “Okay.” She’s like, “I just want to say like, I don’t care about Cradle Filth, but I’m a really big fan of yours. It’s so nice to meet you. It’s such an honor to serve you on this flight.” And I’m like, “Excuse me.” She’s like, “Yes, I saw your ad on Facebook and I started following you, your music’s amazing.” I’m just like… I’m sitting there and my guitarist is sitting across the aisle from me and he’s like “What’s going on? Are you okay?” I’m like, “She likes me.”

My guitarist always jokes, “Oh, I should have been a singer.” Rich is a good guy. Great sense of humor about being the guitarist which everybody has their place in the band. I wrote about it in the Elite group, which is just a fantastic little support system and I wouldn’t say little, we’re a big network of support, and everyone there’s going through the same growing pains and realizations and whatnot. It was just really weird for me. I was like, did that just happen? But that’s the thing. These things work and your superfans are out there. They want your music, they want to support you. It’s crazy.

30:48 CJ: That’s such a key thing. The superfan element is not just jargon, this is literally what we’re looking for because superfans will not get tired of your email. Superfans will be happy to hear about your little idiosyncrasies and the tough morning that you had and the little moment you might want to share. I think once you receive that, once you get that feedback from superfans and not the cynical people we see online all the time-

31:16 Lindsay: The elitists.

31:17 CJ: Yes, especially in the metal community, right?

31:20 Lindsay: Oh God yes.

31:22 CJ: Once you start getting this positive feedback from people that love you dearly and want to hear from you it’s going to open you up to share that sort of thing even more. Again, alluding to the fact that you have been a touring musician, you do have notoriety. You are working with somebody like Rocky that together with these elements, and you now taking over your own music marketing, your own music business, with the things you’re taught in the Savvy Musician Academy Elite program, man. I mean, this is a recipe for great things Lindsay, do you even understand this?

31:58 Lindsay: I do. The thing is Rocky, he saw the last end of the greatness that was music industry. He’s so excited for me, he always pops in. He’s like, “How’s it going? What’s going on?” Now, I understand. Rocky has done his thing. He’s retired he’s made his money everything’s paid for. He just for fun now does film scores and music video games, because he can. Because he wants to. When I show him what I’m doing, at first, he was like, “Wait, you’re becoming your own record label. What the heck, Lindsay? How does that work?”

Now he’s just… He’s always cheering me on. He’s so excited. He knows this is the future. He knows. He’s very well aware of it.

32:37 CJ: It is the future. It’s something we say a lot obviously on this show. It’s great to see someone like yourself at this really critical point. Like I said, she and I were chatting offline just before the podcast, we had to cut ourselves off because it would have turned into a podcast itself and then we would have regretted never recording any of it then she would have had to repeat and it just loses that kind of energy. But when she was talking about it, I felt the electricity immediately into the room and I just said, “You know what, the metal Gods want this discussion to be had.” Because it’s just…

I’m a metal lover, metal motivator stuff, you’re a metal artist. This is for everybody. This is every industry. You’re in country, jazz, ambient music, write music for kids. There’s no age to this. There’s no genre limitations to this. Anybody, if there’s a fan, we got somebody we’ve been looking at just in our own Elite group who has a space alien country.

33:41 Lindsay: I love it.

33:42 CJ: Space alien country.

33:43 Lindsay: Those guys are out there.

33:46 CJ: People who love country music, but also are all into the sci-fi thing. There’s genres and micro-niches out there for you and you can build your own Empire and Lindsey I know there’s so much more that you could say. I wish we had a lot more time to do that. We’ll bring you back on maybe when Leah’s here where we can talk more about that. But the e-commerce element was obviously a big eye-opener for you. Right? Not just selling the music but this other element. How are you doing with your store?

34:17 Lindsay: Oh, it’s just fantastic. I love Shopify, best customer service. I had a little bit of an issue with PayPal. It’s a long story I won’t get into it. But when you’re used to the customer service being so incredible through Shopify, what an incredible platform to sell your music, connect with your fans, provide tracking, buy your shipping labels off the website. Do it all from home really easily. Then you go to PayPal who nobody knows their butt from their toes.

It was really stressful. But Shopify made it so easy. I am living in a little bit of a box right now in my apartment, but I don’t care because when people come to visit, they’re like, “Wow, that is so cool. Go you. You’re doing it all yourself from home.” I’m like, “Yes, thanks to Shopify. Shopify is my friend.” And I’m on the basic plan, an annual basic plan, doing it all through the course.

For $30 a month. That’s what? I just don’t go out and buy coffee for a month. That’s nothing. That’s a sacrifice I can make for now. I don’t care.

35:21 CJ: For now, exactly. For now. I think what people… I think this is… And I have to apologize that I don’t offer more explanation. Me and Leah, when we talk, we say we got to be careful about how much we assume people know about what we’re talking about when we talk about marketing things. When we say Shopify, in other words, that Lindsay is doing great with her Shopify store e-commerce, which means selling all of her hoodies, and shirts, and mugs and all that kind of stuff.

But here’s the thing guys, she doesn’t carry any inventory. She’s not sitting there with printed stuff that she has to put in bags and ship out to anybody. You’re not shipping anything. Are you?

35:59 Lindsay: Oh, no. I am. I did… Okay, so listen. I’m a little bit punk rock. I came from a punk band first when I was 15. Yes, you can do the whole print on demand. I looked into it and I was like I’m such a control freak and I understand a lot of people have been very happy with their print on demand. But I did small quantities. I lie… I say box for… just a little pile over there. There’s a little pile over there, there’s a little pile in the other room. It doesn’t bother my roommates.

I live with a drummer, I live with students and artists. It’s a very Amanda Palmer situation. If you don’t know Amanda Palmer check her out. She’s amazing. But I did do small quantity prints because I wanted to support… I’m so sentimental this way, I wanted to support some local printers that I thought were really good small local businesses because the end of the day my fans are coming to support me. A lot of people do the print on demand and I think that is fantastic.

But I have had a lot of fun just taking down the first big shipment. Taking some downtime, inviting over my sister and my closest friends. Doing an assembly line, boxing things up, putting little love notes. The fans I’ve had a really good relationship with putting it in the boxes. I did do things a little differently. I know I didn’t have to do it this way but I did it this way because I’m punk rock. I wanted to send love letters and the print on demand does make more sense for your sanity and I will look into it in the future, but I just did it a little bit differently because I’m a little bit of an oddball. I am very unique.

37:26 CJ: No I completely understand because that’s the way I did it for the longest time. Because you just… I did want that and I wanted to make sure things got there. I wanted to make sure an order wasn’t messed up. The most important part was I could throw a sticker in there. I could throw a patch in there. I could write a little note on the invoice and all of that. But then what happens is the volume kicks up, and then you realize well, I can’t have mugs, hats, little pieces of trinkets, all the different iPhone covers, and all of these things.

At some point, you do have to turn some of that over to the print on demand because then… Because if it was print on demand, you can say, okay, well if somebody… If you all of a sudden you start getting people saying, “I want an iPhone cover.” What are you going to do?

38:14 Lindsay: Exactly. I’m going to order 10 and they’ll collect dust.

38:17 CJ: Yes, you got to get one for iPhone 7S, iPhone 8, iPhone 10 X, iPhone 11. But where you have these print on demand, you could have it up and available… I’ve had people request something from me and had it up available on my store in less than five minutes.

38:33 Lindsay: Right.

38:34 CJ: I had somebody say… Somebody said, “Well, I would get a shirt from you.” Of course, we have this in the metal community, the extra extra large folks, bless their hearts. One guy said, “Hey man, I need something four X, five X. I can’t do three.” I’m thinking bigger than three x? He said if you had that, I would order it. So I said okay. Five minutes, I had a whole three x, four x, five x shirts and all my shirts available and send him a link, he was like, “That was fast.”

39:06 Lindsay: I need that right now because my fans that are triple XL they’re just like, Where’s the things?” I’m like, “I’m so sorry, I will print the things next time.” That’s money I’m losing. You live you learn. I did do this launch a little old school in areas which I shouldn’t have. But in the future, my dream was building my fan base and my mailing list and my career essentially. I’ve talked about it with Leah, I will look into warehouse like shipping, fulfillment facilities.

Not a lot around here in Toronto but again I’m very persistent. I will find someone and I will do that and then I can just clear up my house. Make it look social media pretty. Write all my music from here, have my little motivational speeches every morning. I can’t wait for that but it is a transition and the other thing is, is I did do a little rant when I was opening my bank account.

I was on the way to open my bank account. I said I think the millennial lie is the whole ‘it happens overnight’. I have been a work in progress for 18 years. I’ve seen the industry change multiple times in multiple ways. But this just didn’t happen overnight. I started Savvy in February. I had to tour. I had a lot of research to do, I’m still not done. I’m still getting distribution offers. I’ve got to figure out distribution. I’ve had a publishing offer, I need to go study publishing a little more. I don’t know enough about publishing, I’m not going to jump in and sign something.

There’s all these things that are being offered on the table for me and it’s like, okay, I need to be smart and do my research. When I’m caught up, I’m caught up. But with Savvy it’s just such a good little breakdown of where you need to start because it will grow bigger than you. Now I got my sister is… We’re only three years apart. She’s a graphic designer photographer. She gets it. She made my Shopify look beautiful. Having my family member who’s my best friend work for me it’s just been…

The fact that, hey, your sisters out of work and you can employ her is one of the most beautiful feelings in the entire world. I do have a fantastic team around me. A lot of the women, we’re really good multitaskers no offence to dudes, I get it. I admire the man’s pinpoint focus to get that job done and get it done right. But we women, we’re just an octopus with our tentacles everywhere doing multiple things at once. But that growth is just so beautiful. And I’m starting to see just the tip of the iceberg and I’m so happy.

I can’t wait to get back to writing music. I spoke to Steve at Savvy. He’s great. I think a lot of people have phone calls with him and stuff. I was like, “Steve, I’m so miserable I’m not writing music.” He’s like, “You’re going through a season. You’re in building season. You’re in business season, you will get back to being creative.” He’s like, “I know. My wife when she’s not writing she gets grumpy. I know. I get it.”

I was there and I was like, okay. I have a lot of stuff to clean up and then I’m going to get back into working on a very special little EP, hopefully, done before Christmas, but I can do that now. Because I don’t have to go on tour for this album as much as I know the fans want it, maybe one day they will get it. I don’t have to go on tour, I can just go back right into writing and performing music from home. Living the dream. I’m sorry, that’s living the dream now.

42:20 CJ: That is the dream. That’s what we want for every musician that’s listening. Again, doesn’t matter what genre you’re in. Lindsay has a clear picture now and this… How you do that thing as an independent artist today is part of what the Savvy Musician Academy is. Well, it is what the Savvy Musician Academy is about. It gives you that clear path and these are proven principles. Like I said, this is not something Leah just pulled out of her ear. This is stuff that’s been established for years and I wouldn’t be a part of the Savvy Musician. I would not take the time to do this podcast. I’ve got my own stuff to do. I would not waste my time if it wasn’t something that I sincerely believed in one, being principle-based but number two because I have such a heart for music.

Not because I’m a musician myself, but because I love music especially the heavy metal genre and I want to see it continue and I know what the problems are. I have a lot of very good friends that are professional musicians, especially in the heavy metal genre. I know the pain. To me, there’s such a cause here. This is so purpose-driven. When it comes to helping people.

43:28 Lindsay: One thing I do want to point out especially with heavy metal and rock and alternative, I wasn’t better but I’m doing this all myself. I have hired out session players. My guitarist is in Toronto, my basis is in Vancouver. I live with my drummer but he’s doing his own thing, he’s a drum teacher, he’s very busy, he lets me keep all my inventory here, bless him. But if you’re in a metal band, you have four to six other people who can help you with all of this.

If you go through Savvy, you have six other people. I am one person. Everybody in your band has a strength. If you’re a duet or you’re a three-piece or four-piece. Someone in there is good at social media. Someone in there is good at marketing. Someone in there is good at numbers and keeping a mailing list. Delegate the task. I was just like, “Man, what I would give to have five other band members right now doing this with me.”

It’s not that my hired session people can’t but they’re still in their other jobs. They’re still teachers, they’re still doing their respective thing. I can’t like plug them into savvy and be like, “Okay, do the thing.” They have multiple questions and it’s slowing me down and I had a deadline. Maybe in the future, they can. I know, my guitarist is in marketing, and he would love to do this. I’ll bring him in eventually.

If you start with your band, and you have yourself and you have these five other people helping you, you will get through the course so quickly. It’ll be like magic. It will.

44:53 CJ: That’s awesome. Thank you for saying that. Because we get so focused on the individual artists, we forget oftentimes other players involved and burden doesn’t have to all be on you but hats off to you. Horns off to you, Lindsay Schoolcraft for… I love it, the fairy goth mother, that was so cool. It’s so wonderful to watch your brand develop and to be so faithful to it. I love hearing about your work ethic and the grit you talked about because that is what it takes.

We don’t want this to be unrealistic for people to think, oh, yes, you just take this course and everything works. No, it takes work. It takes work. The difference is, is that you’re going to be willing to do the work more because you’re going to get the results and you’re going to get the results because you’re going to have a proven program. You’re going to have coaches there with you committed to you. Now I’m speaking specifically of the Elite program. We have other things like The Online Musician, what we call our TOM program, which is about to get an upgrade.

The Elite program is different. It’s a higher ticket, higher cost program, but you get all the coaches I work with, students and we have other teams. People specializing in email, people specializing in Facebook ads. These are people who make their living. For example, Jody, who was our Facebook ads coach, that’s what she does. She makes her living teaching people on Facebook ads. All of that and people forget about Steve, Leah’s husband Steve.

46:22 Lindsay: He’s so great.

46:22 CJ: He’s one of my best buddies. Oftentimes when we do, we have our little team meetings. It’s all women, Melissa and Chandra, Amy and all these other girls, and Leah, and then there’s just me and Steve. Representing the testosterone end of things in the face of so much estrogen holding our own and saying yes ma’am a whole lot of the time.

46:49 Lindsay: Oh bless.

46:51 CJ: Yes, Steve told me one time… No, I’m kidding, but the joke I say all the time when your wife tries to tell you what to do as a man, you say no woman is going to tell me what to do, so one time, when they tell you, “Hey, get over here and wash these dishes.” You just tell them I’m not doing anything until I finish this ironing. It is a… We work with some very brilliant ladies. Of course, Leah, as you said, the queen who really set the standard for all of this.

So thankful for you, Lindsay, for taking the time. Thank you for giving me a front-row seat to watching what’s going on and hope we get to chance to keep in touch and whatnot. But either way, we’ll be behind you 110% singing your praises, spreading the word and we know you’re going to do well.

47:47 Lindsay: Thank you so much. It means a lot, seriously.

47:50 CJ: How can people… We going to put stuff in the show notes, but what’s the best place for people to go to learn more about what you’re doing?

47:56 Lindsay: You can go to lindsayschoolcraft.com I spell Lindsay with an I and an A. Schoolcraft is with a C, not a K and you can also go to schoolcraftshop.com if you want to see how beautiful my sister made my Shopify. All my social media is linked there. You can come join me on Instagram. I’m quite punctual on Twitter and I just post a lot of really silly jokes which is fun. You got to make someone laugh even if it’s just yourself. I’m pretty active on my social media and if gothic rock or gothic culture or hey, happy Halloween, it’s this week. That’s your thing. That’s my life. It’s Halloween every day in my world. Come hang out.

48:41 CJ: Even guys, I tell people this all the time. Especially for somebody who’s listening to this podcast or not just a music listener. They’re aspiring musicians themselves. It is great to watch what Lindsay’s doing right now as a case study for yourself. Because the people learning the principles, they might as well watch somebody literally do a beyond… They all know Leah’s success story. They’ve heard it before. But to watch someone else following those similar proven principles that don’t belong to SMA, they belong to the marketing communications world like I said for as long as I’ve known them.

It’s great to watch that, they can check that out too. Again, all that information will be in the show notes. But again, Lindsay, it was so great to see you.

49:23 Lindsay: You too. Thank you again.

49:25 CJ: Guys, thank you so much for joining us on the Savvy Musician show. If you would like, you can leave a review. We need them. We lust for them. We salivate for them. We share them in our meetings and reviews are really important because they help other musicians like yourself discover the Savvy Musician Show. Leave us as many stars as you can. Again, whatever player you use, Stitcher, Spotify, iTunes, please take the time to leave a review. You’re also always welcome to come to one of our Facebook groups and leave your comments there. Some things that you would like to see us cover in the future. We’ll be happy to address it. Once again, thanks for being with us and we’ll see you soon.

Episode #076: An Interview With Karen Barrow (Elite Student)

Her online music career began early in the days of MySpace—gaining 30,000 followers—and at one point, one of her music videos gained 12 million views, and yet Karen Barrow still had no money to show for it. Like most artists, she was confused, frustrated, and unsure about her music career because of all the changes in the industry. Then, she found the Savvy Musician Academy, went through The Online Musician course, then joined the Elite program, and that’s when things started to change. If you want an honest look at what goes on behind the scenes of our Elite coaching group, then this episode reveals it. Listen in as Karen shares her own story of struggle, awakening, and the progress!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • The reality of today’s average musician.
  • How Karen refined her personal brand.
  • The impact of music marketing coaches.
  • Overcoming doubt and taking action.
  • Karen’s major victory.
  • The power of a pruned email list.
  • How major artists are realizing the power of the internet.
  • Why views and a large audience don’t produce results.
  • How Karen took control of her music career.
  • The power of a professional mindset.
  • How ecommerce changed Karen’s results.


“You need two things for success in any area. You need principles. Whatever principles govern success. Then number two, you need coaching.” — @metalmotivation [0:08:43]

“I’ve started to lose the idea of it’s not for me, I can’t do it, it’s not meant to be.” — Karen Barrow [0:13:37]

“Listen, you guys could tear it up with 50% of what Leah teaches you, if you just understand that one element that Leah really emphasizes traditional marketing principles.” — @metalmotivation [0:21:16]

“You’ll really understand the revolutionary aspect of social media when social media itself disappears and you realize you’re just talking to a person.” — @metalmotivation [0:22:45]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Episode #073: Record Label or Independent Artist? An Interview With Jens Hilzensauer Pt. 1 . – https://savvymusicianacademy.com/73

Episode #074: Record Label or Independent Artist? An Interview With Jens Hilzensauer Pt. 2 – https://savvymusicianacademy.com/74

Episode #067: Leah’s Recent Crowdfunding Results, Part 1: 80k in 30 Days – https://savvymusicianacademy.com/67

Episode #068: Leah’s Recent Crowdfunding Results, Part 2: Mistakes & Lessons Learned – https://savvymusicianacademy.com/68

Episode #069: Crowdfunding Q&AKaren Barrow’s Facebook Page –https://www.facebook.com/ScarletteFeverOfficial/

Click For Full Transcript

00:21 CJ: Well, welcome once again to the Savvy Musician Show. This is CJ Ortiz, I’m the branding and mindset coach here at The Savvy Musician Academy and I’m beginning a three-part interview series, which is really, really special, I’m excited about it. It will be me interviewing three of our elite students from The Savvy Musician Academy. And this is special because I think it gives everyone just a little bit of background, a little behind the scenes look, at what some of these independent artists who are doing everything they can to maximize their success going exclusively online. And I think it’s really important that you not just hear from Leah from the front end, or from me on the front end, but get to get a, again, a fly on the wall sort of view from someone who’s actually going through the program and experiencing some results.

So, whereas normally I would include a student spotlight, the whole thing is a student spotlight and I’m really, really excited about it. And so today I have someone very special, someone who I’ve actually worked with in a coaching call and a delightful artist, and you’re going to learn so much more about her. Coming all the way from the United Kingdom is Karen Barrow, one of our Elite students. Karen, thank you for being with us on The Savvy Musician Show.

01:41 Karen: Oh, my pleasure CJ.

01:42 CJ: Like I said, you and I have had the chance to work together and that’s probably one of the cool things about the Elite Program is it’s not just a course that you take, like for example The Online Musician, but you get also these other elements working with coaches and we’ll talk a little bit more about that. But Karen, let’s start at the outset, you are an independent artist, you’ve put out music before, you’re getting ready to put out another album, crowdfunding and all that good stuff. Let’s start at the beginning. Where did you first come across Savvy Musician Academy. How did Leah come across your radar?

02:20 Karen: I think it was a couple of years ago. Just a bit of background. My career, I sort of started my career on that cusp of the internet. So when I was starting out, it was the whole MySpace thing and I experienced probably loads of people, I built up 30,000 people in MySpace, and then it went overnight like that, gone, and the whole point of my career, I always knew I wanted to be independent, but it was all about chasing radio and chasing media and if these guys play you, you’ll get noticed, it will happen, blah blah blah. And I just reached a point in my career where I’d done everything that had been asked of me. I had the radio play, I had songs in the billboard dance charts. I had all of that stuff, but it still, the internet was this big mammoth beast that had come along and I had like 4,000 fans on Facebook.

I just wasn’t getting the sales. So, I was looking for something else, realizing that this was just a waste of my time, just putting out music, hoping that someone on the radio is going to give me the break or on TV or whatever. And I stumbled across Leah, first of all, I think the first course I did of hers was just like the Online Musician Course. And then I did the one following that, which I can never remember the name. I did a few of her courses. This was before Leah existed. And I reached a point where I had set up my first funnel in terms of email, which is bringing leads in and doing the whole … at that point, it was like a three-day song giveaway. Three songs, three days. And then they were in the funnel and that was great. And that was fab, and I started to build this list. But then I was like, “Great, so where’s my sales?” And I was like, “Right, this is great. What’s next?”

And it was like a year later, the Elite Course came on my radar and I didn’t sign up to it immediately because I was umming and ahhing and like, “Ooh, is it really going to deliver, am I really going to … I don’t know, I don’t know.” And I was just kind of plateauing around, not really knowing what to do, not really knowing how to put a promotion together. And I was building this list and I didn’t know what to do with it. So, I kind of decided it’s all or nothing because this isn’t working. What’s wrong? Something’s wrong. And it’s a case of either, go big or go home. So, I decided to take the plunge and I went for a leap.

04:43 CJ: And how long ago was that?

04:44 Karen: Oh gosh, it was at the beginning of the summer, so I think it was like May.

04:49 CJ: Okay, May. May of this year, 2019.

04:52 Karen: Yep.

04:52 CJ: Now, your stage name is Scarlet.

04:55 Karen: Yes.

04:55 CJ: And for a while, there was Scarlet Fever. And of course, after a session that you and I had, which we talked about branding specifically, you had done the branding bootcamp in the Elite Course and we had an offer there to just do kind of a one-on-one. And, even though we’re not taking an extensive amount of time in that sort of thing, from that initial branding bootcamp and from that initial branding call, how much was opened up for you in terms of the importance of branding yourself as an artist now, in the online space?

05:26 Karen: I can’t possibly state the impact that working with the coaches, you know, you guys, the weekly sessions with Melissa, as much as the course content is mind-blowingly incredible, it’s been that one-on-one coaching that has really been a game-changer for me. Because it stopped me getting stuck in this micro-world of, is it this, is it that? Is that kind of quite right? Is it this? But maybe it’s that. Because it’s just that being an online musician, it’s a lonely world. It’s not like I sit here and I’ve got my community of labels to talk to about decisions and branding and marketing and blah blah. And that’s what that gave me, was just that opportunity of an actual trusted professional person. This is what you do. Okay, let’s put it on the plate in that arena. It was massive. It was absolutely massive.

06:24 CJ: Once you got into the program, working with the coaches and stuff, what was the first major victory that you had?

06:30 Karen: I think the first major victory was … that’s an interesting question actually because I don’t think I was aware of it at the time, it was actually over the summer, I did a flash summer sale and over a weekend I made like £300. And it was like, “Oh, Oh wow, I’ve made some money. Oh, that’s weird.” And I think that’s been the interesting thing for me. At the time I was like, “Oh, that’s pretty good. £300.” I’m pretty ambitious with my goals so I didn’t see it at the time for what that meant. I mean, obviously what that meant is that my list building, my audience, that my email was on the right track.

And I think that the other big one actually was, I had a session with Steve as well, which was amazing. And something that had slipped through the net for me was understanding about how to actually keep pruning your list and how to check the house of your list. Because when I was looking at my list, I was frustrated because I had a good open rate, good click-through rate, but I didn’t feel that I had the sales. Of course, I had a list that was established from before Elite, before Savvy Musician, I didn’t know about pruning my list and getting rid of people who aren’t engaged. So, my buying percentage was really low. And then as soon as I pruned the list, I had that thing of, “Ah, brilliant, it’s actually that.” Had I not spoken to Steve and I looked at all of those figures, I’d have been like, “Well, what’s wrong? I must have my targeting wrong. I’ve got to go back to going through my targeting.” And it’s been, I think that’s what the coaching has done, it’s helping me look at the right thing rather than going down this forever ending tunnel of, is it this, is it that? Is it that you guys have helped me go, no, branding, tick. The right people, tick. It’s not that, it’s this.

08:31 CJ: Isn’t that amazing? You know, I’ve often told people, I’m so glad you said it that way, because I’ve told people for years when I talk about … and I do motivational stuff on the side, and I try to get them to understand that you need two things for success in any area. You need principles. Whatever principles govern success. Then number two, you need coaching. And the coaching part is what stumbles them because think they can figure it out, right? They’re going to listen to the free podcast. They’re going to listen to the free YouTube videos, right? And there’s somehow they’re going to figure it out. But what they miss about the coaching part is that like a professional athlete for example, like over here in the United States, you have a pro golfer like Tiger Woods, right? Well, Tiger Woods has a golfing coach, but that doesn’t mean the golfing coach is necessarily better player than Tiger at all, not even close.

But what the coach does, is watches his technique, watches so he can tell when he’s starting to get into a bad habit or he’s missing something very simple that he already knows, but the player can’t keep all of that in mind all the time. And so yeah, you get trapped and you think it’s something you did wrong or you think it’s the problem is in an area that the problem is not actually in, and it is, it’s a rabbit trail and you waste so much time, you waste so much emotional energy, you get discouraged, you start to turn on yourself, you start with all the mind games of, is it worth it, it’s not meant to be. All of these things that we do, and it’s just a simple fix. And so now here we are in this new era of the music industry where this becomes imperative.

I don’t know if you saw this? This is a new article and you know Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins, there was an article about him in a recent issue of Guitar World Magazine, and it says, “Smashing Pumpkins leader on why, as an artist, you should focus completely on the internet.” And it was interesting because he says, “Going out into the world and playing down the street, don’t even bother.” And then later on he says, and this is a literal quote, he says, “If I was going to give you 60 seconds of advice, I would put your whole focus into reaching people through the internet.” That’s amazing. So I think more and more people are beginning to understand that this is what you need to do. But that’s kind of an ambiguous general statement. What does that mean? You were doing it, as you said, back in the days of MySpace. You were on the internet, but it’s the new dynamics of how social media has changed. Things like email opt-ins. Did you have any idea it was as involved as you’ve learned it to be?

11:10 Karen: No, the funny thing is, and I was doing it. But the interesting thing is when I realized that the internet was there and I was first speaking to music marketing gurus about the internet, it was the same model, just different. They were still going for, “You’ve just got to get the views, you’ve just got to get the audience and then they will come.” These imaginary people who will come and make your career. And, I sat there at that point before Leah, I had 12 million video views, and I still couldn’t buy you … I couldn’t buy you a pint, CJ.

11:47 CJ: 12 million video views on YouTube, right?

11:50 Karen: No, no. This was on Facebook. Because I was advertising on Facebook.

11:53 CJ: On Facebook? Even on Facebook?

11:54 Karen: But what I wasn’t doing, was doing anything with that audience because I didn’t know how. Obviously, through the first courses, I stumbled, well not stumbled, I learned that we need an email address and that’s great. And I sat there and I looked at my new little list and I was like, “Great, now what do I do with you?” Because I still didn’t know. Do you send out an email saying “Buy this?” So, every now and then, I’d send out an email but there was no focus to it, there wasn’t direction. I didn’t know about putting together campaigns and promotions and how to actually start leveraging this list. I didn’t know.

12:34 CJ: Yeah, so now there’s an intentionality, for example, to your email. There’s intentionality to your social media posting. So tell me, how does this make you feel in terms of your own personal empowerment, feeling like you’re starting to get more and more control over your own career?

12:53 Karen: Well, it’s funny you should say that because the biggest change I’ve had, and I spoke to Melissa about this a couple of weeks ago, and I said the biggest change in my mentality is that for the longest time, for my whole career, I think I thought about making it in music as being this magical thing. It’s the moment of magic, the magic audience that’s going to make all the difference. When suddenly I’ll wake up and there’ll be all these sales, the magic branding, the magic. And what I’ve realized, it was all about, for me, the biggest change actually, the breakthrough, was that session with Steve when I realized, no, there’s nothing wrong with my list, I’ve just got to get rid of people who aren’t engaged. And from that point onwards, I’ve started to lose the idea of it’s not for me, I can’t do it, it’s not meant to be. That stuff that you said earlier, all of that negative self-talk of, it’s not my time, not in this lifetime. It’s, you can’t make money from [inaudible 00:13:52] all that stuff.

Now I’m in a professional mindset of, “okay, I’m now, at the moment, I’m bringing in £500 in sales a month. Okay, let’s look at how I get to my next goal, which is going to be £1,000 per month. And then my next go, which is going to be blah, blah, blah. And on it’s going to go. So, I’m no longer thinking about it in terms of finding the magic potion. I’m just going to look at how I now grow, which is great, it’s really exciting.

14:23 CJ: That’s amazing. Even though we’re in this new era with the online space governing, so much of all sales, not just music, all sales and commerce being done online, but I think artists, musicians in particular, still think like the old way. Meaning, that in the old way you would wait to be discovered by the record label, right? And so nowadays you’re waiting to be discovered on the internet, that somehow your video will go viral. And that will be answered, as you said. Instead of saying, “No, I can literally create my own space, I can literally create my own empire.” And so I think one of the funny things that Leah often says, is when people will see her ads and they’ll say, “Well, if you’re making all this money as an independent artist not touring, then why have I never heard of you?” And she says, “Well that’s the point. I’m only targeting people who listen to Celtic fantasy metal. So it stands to reason that you’d have not heard of me.”

And so we just had a recent interview with a gentleman, the name of Jens who, a proficient online marketer himself working closely with Leah on some other projects, and he was talking to some German record labels and they were absolutely puzzled, could not figure out how Leah was doing what she’s doing. And, of course, everybody resorts to scam and all these sorts of things. Just because you can’t figure something out, doesn’t mean it’s done illegally. Just because you can’t figure out how somebody is doing something, doesn’t mean it’s done by magic. I mean, I’ve seen some pretty powerful magicians do pretty powerful magic tricks and for the life of me, I could spend all my days and never figure it out. But then you watch a video showing how that sort of trick is done, and you feel stupid that you couldn’t figure this out. Can you understand why people just can’t wrap their heads around this, now that you’re doing the sort of thing yourself?

16:17 Karen: I can, because it’s a huge amount of work and it is a huge amount of discipline and dedication. Because the thing is, if you don’t show up every day, then like had I not shown up and not put in all that work and not had that moment with Steve, I wouldn’t have had that breakthrough. I had another one where it came up in the group and someone was talking about making sure that all of your audiences have also included that you only want to target online shoppers and people engage with online shopping. It’s a small detail, but it’s a big thing. Because why target people who don’t buy online. And it’s all of those details that build the puzzle. It’s not magic, but all of those details, when you look at them as the picture, it’s like, “Wow, Oh, how do you do that?”

17:01 CJ: Exactly. And it’s pretty amazing that you’re doing something like this for the most part on your own, that you’re not doing it with a team of people or whatnot. You can get to the place where you might have to bring some things in and you’ve done little things like maybe you hire something out, a little graphic design project here, but there’s so many now inexpensive vendors to do that. Tell me a little bit now, because I don’t know how much you were doing this beforehand, I’m sure you did, but how has the e-commerce element that you’re taught in Elite, the merchandise and all of that, how has that changed things?

17:36 Karen: Oh gosh, it’s massive. It’s absolutely massive. And I think that again, Shopify has been the moment of, you know, an out of control independent artist to someone who actually has a business. Because last Christmas and this was before I did Elite, but I’d done all the other trainings and I was building my list and I was not stupid, I was kind of having a look at what other independent artists were doing, who seems to be successful, “Oh, they do this Christmas promotion, okay, right, well, I’m going to do this Christmas promotion.”

And I remember hearing Leah talk about figuring out the numbers. And I was like, I’ve got no idea what that means, and I don’t know how you figure out the numbers, but I’m going to do something. So, I had this idea of I’m going to do Christmas promotion, but at that point I only had WooCommerce and I had the free WooCommerce, so I didn’t have upsells on that, I didn’t have any ability to actually really control, it was purely like a purchase platform, I didn’t know about writing the correct sales descriptions or even the right photos, or didn’t know any of that. So, it’s a miracle that I actually got any sales. I did, no way near of what I actually wanted at that time to get at, but what Shopify has done, especially with the analytics, I’ve got this incredible tool, and to actually really now start using that data to grow. Shopify has been huge, but I will say this, I can see how easy it is to get, again, sucked in down the rabbit hole of the perfect app.

19:16 CJ: Right, right.

19:18 Karen: The perfect theme, you know. So, I think that for me, I’ve got it at that place of … And that’s why I just listen to Leah. I got the apps that she recommended as being the vital apps, and I put it to bed. Because you could easily spend a year, two years, just sitting on Shopify, tweaking pages. So it is incredible, but it’s another whole universe.

19:41 CJ: And it adds a tremendous amount of, you know when people try to wrap their heads around when Leah Tout’s making six figures with her own music without touring, that’s part of the reason of how that’s accomplished, is because of the Shopify element. You’re not just selling your CD’s and vinyl, which she does, but she’s selling bundles, she’s selling accessories, she’s selling everything from shower curtains, literally Leah shower curtains, bedspreads to journals, to T-shirts to hoodies, to mugs, to hats, to a smartphone covers, jewelry, shoes, sneakers, all of this stuff being sold under her own personal brand that she’s marketing to her list, email wise, et cetera. Tremendously empowering. But you said something Karen, that I thought is really, really noteworthy. Well, two things you said. Number one, you said the Shopify element took it from just being an artist, willy-nilly, moving around, trying to make things happen, to actually being a business.

20:49 Karen: Yes.

20:50 CJ: And then the second thing is, with the Shopify thing, like all the other aspects of this type of approach to music marketing, you can end up getting pigeonholed and too focused on the apps and all of these sorts of things. Tell me what you’ve learned in terms of how important just the basic principles of marketing are. Copywriting and marketing, that are always true no matter what software you’re using. I always said, “Listen, you guys could tear it up with 50% of what Leah teaches you, if you just understand that one element of, Leah really emphasizes traditional marketing principles.”

21:26 Karen: Well, funny you should say that CJ, because I have an example that’s occurring right now and it’s blown my mind. So, I’ve been running the eCommerce adverts, you know, here’s the T-shirt, blah blah, and I had about nine pounds something cost conversion, I can’t think of the word but you know what I mean, nine-pound, whatever. Anyway, I hadn’t done it before, but I actually created, based on one of Leah’s trainings where she talks about the surround [inaudible 00:21:55] where you write a really compelling, long post, just outlining your journey, and just talking a bit about life as the independent musician, blah, blah, blah. Just to kind of, little bit of a story, and I woke up this morning, I ran the advert yesterday, and I woke up to £100 worth in sales, with a cost conversion of £1.67.

22:17 CJ: Wow, isn’t that amazing?

22:19 Karen: It’s slightly different to what you’re saying because it’s not copywriting on Shopify, but it’s copy, you know, it’s getting the right copy, again, promoting the right copy. And that I just found like, “Wow, that’s crazy.”

22:32 CJ: Yes. And a lot of the coaching calls that I’ll do, we have monthly coaching calls with each of the coaches when everybody can participate, not just a one-on-one like you and I did, and I’ve been telling them recently just about that very thing is when you’ll really understand the revolutionary aspect of social media when social media itself disappears and you realize you’re just talking to a person. That’s why it’s not all about the software, it’s not about the media. Even though we teach these things in depth, it’s really about your personal relationship with your fan, with your follower, engaging with them, creating this know, like and trust relationship that marketers have never been able to achieve, advertisers have never been able to achieve, in the history of advertising and marketing, so much so that I would tell you that if social media had appeared a hundred years ago, at the same time marketing and advertising appeared, the rules of marketing and advertising would be different. Because, up until the age of social media, you could never be personal with somebody, so you had to fake it. You know what I mean? You had to make that sales letter personal and you had to throw in all these 90-day guarantees to try and get people to take a risk on your product or service. Now Karen is going directly to her audience. That just adds to this sense of empowerment and limitless growth.

23:54 Karen: I think that’s why those big moments are almost hard to see because that isn’t the big moment. The big moment has been the year of building the list and all of the posts I’ve been making and all of the stories I’ve been telling them, so when I posted that one, people have taken action on it. And that’s the point that you say, that it’s the background relationship building, so that when you do ask for the sale or the promotion or whatever, it’s there.

24:22 CJ: So tell us real quick, what’s next for you, what’s next for Scarlet and how they can follow up with what you’re doing.

24:31 Karen: Again, I’m staying close to the fire. So that for me right now, at the end of October, means that I’m going to very, very quickly go through the holiday training. And I’m going to apply that and I’m going to be realistic about that, I’m going to do that this year with a view of learning from it. And then next year I’m going to be attempting a crowdfunding campaign. And I’ll be honest, it’s a real big mental block for me, because I’ve got that horrible fear of what if you don’t raise any money, but it’s the next thing. So, I’m going to have to smash through that one.

25:04 CJ: That’s pretty cool because of course as you know, we just did the three episodes on the crowdfunding, and Leah took risks and hosted it on her own site and you know all the details of that sort of thing. But, I can tell you from just the way things have taken off since you’ve come into the program, and just how well and professional and dedicated you are in applying everything, you’re going to do just fine. Because you’ve got great music, you’re a great artist, and I want people again to … we’ll put your contact information in the show notes, but I want you to go ahead and tell everybody how they can reach you. But, I think it’s going to be easier to see that you’re going to continue to be a great example of what an independent artist can do in this new era of the music industry utilizing social media, marketing, Shopify, e-commerce, email, all of these powerful, powerful … They’re always changing, right? You see it just in the group, we have to keep updating it, revising and changing things, because these mediums are always changing. But that’s okay, you’ve got to feel empowered about the next year, even though you might be a little leery of the crowdfunding aspect, but think of how armed you’re going to be in 2020 with what you’ve learned in the past six months.

What kind of progress, you start the compounding, the multiplying effect, where the effort is not just two times the result, but 10 times the result. That’s that limitless aspect if you’re just faithful to the principles. Don’t be moved by what you see, right? Don’t be moved by your feelings. Don’t get all caught up in your head. Stay close to the principals. Know that they work just like the laws of flight work and just keep pushing ahead. And Karen, you’ve been doing such a great job of exemplifying that. So, tell everybody how they can reach you, learn more about your music.

26:52 Karen: So all you need to do is go to, it’s a funny spelling. It’s Scarlettefever.co.uk. And that’s S-C-A-R-L-E-T-T-E, scarlettefever.co.uk.

27:04 CJ: Yeah, so Scarlette, and for all you Americans, all you yanks, .co.uk, not.com, .co.uk. We’ll put this in the show notes so everybody can follow up with that. But Karen, I’m so glad you were the one that we got to start off this little series, talking with some of the students because like I said, you’ve been such a great example and I had the chance to work with you one-on-one and see up close what you were doing, and again, we are all so proud of you, behind you 110%, committed to your success. So, thank you for taking the time.

27:39 Karen: Thank you CJ. Thank you so much.

27:41 CJ: Well guys, listen, if you want to hear more of this, please go and subscribe to this podcast, whatever player you’re listening on, whether it be Spotify, Stitcher, iTunes, just be sure to leave us a review. We covet those reviews, we do read them in our weekly team meetings. They mean a lot to us. If they give you the option for including stars, then give us the maximum of five stars. But we appreciate that. And again, thank you so much, we’ll be back next time with another student interview. Take care.

48:58 CJ: All right guys, we will see you next time. Take care.