Tag: podcast

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

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

Key Points From This Episode:

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


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

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

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

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Call Savvy Musician Academy — www.callsma.com

Savvy Musician Inner Circle — https://savvymusicianacademy.com/innercircle 

Welter — https://www.weltermusic.com/

Tony Robbins — https://www.tonyrobbins.com/

David Williams (Student Spotlight) — https://www.weltermusic.com/

Click For Full Transcript

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

00:39 Leah: I’m good CJ, how are you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

02:39 Leah: That’s a big deal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[0:06:57.4] LM: Yeah.

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

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

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

08:19 Leah: Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

17:05 CJ: Right. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

21:38 Leah: Cortisol. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

27:50 Leah: Yeah. 

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

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

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

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

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

30:03 Leah: We’re done here now. 

30:05 CJ: That settles that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Key Points From This Episode:

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


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

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

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Call Savvy Musician Academy — www.callsma.com

Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins — https://amzn.to/34WVRUn 

Savvy Musician Show Episode 7 — https://savvymusicianacademy.com/blog/2018/03/7-real-artists-dont-starve-jeff-goins/

Singing Success Vocal Retreat — https://singingsuccess.com/retreat/ 

Quick Cash Generation Guide — https://savvymusicianacademy.com/tribe/resources/

The Secret — https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0846789/

Family Wealth by James E. Hughes Jr. — https://amzn.to/2LGXbmJ 

Lindsay Matheson (Student Spotlight) — https://www.lindsayschoolcraft.com/ 

Click For Full Transcript

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10:41 CJ: It’s an impersonal thing.

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

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

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

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

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

12:40 Leah: Right.

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

13:05 Leah: Right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

18:37 Leah: That’s it. 

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

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

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

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

19:36 Leah: And opportunities.

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

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

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

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

20:58 CJ: Poor thing. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

25:28 Leah: I know that. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

29:50 Leah: Yeah. 

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

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

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

31:19 Leah: Yeah. 

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

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

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

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

32:58 Leah: Sounds good, bye guys. 

33:00 CJ: Take care. 

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

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

Key Points From This Episode:

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


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

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

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

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Quick Cash Generation Guide — www.savvymusicianacademy.com/cashgeneration 

Savvy Musician Show Episode 50— www.savvymusicianacademy.com/50 

Call Savvy Musician Academy — www.callsma.com

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

Randy San Nicolas (Student Spotlight) — https://www.randysannicolas.com/ 

Click For Full Transcript

00:22 CJ: Well welcome once again to the Savvy Musician Show, this is CJ Ortiz, I’m the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy and I am joined once again, I get to be the one who sits across and asks awesome questions from this awesome lady, the lovely Leah McHenry. Leah, how are you?

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

00:47 CJ: Isn’t it great to see me?

00:49 Leah: Yes. It is.

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

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

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

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

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

02:42 Leah: That’s music to my ears.

02:43 CJ: Isn’t it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

05:04 CJ: Legacy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

23:30 Leah: All right, bye guys. 

Episode #062: How Leah Became A Successful Music Marketer

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

Key Points From This Episode:

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


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

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

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

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Leah on Twitter — https://twitter.com/leahthemusic

Savvy Musician Inner Circle Newsletter — https://savvymusicianacademy.com/innercircle

Online Musician 2.0— https://savvymusicianacademy.com/tribe/tom/

Superfan System Elite Program — callsma.com

Click For Full Transcript

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

00:40 Leah: I’m doing fantastic.

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

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

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

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

02:16 Leah: Look at that.

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

02:46 Leah: Yeah, fantastic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11:26 CJ: Right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

25:46 CJ: Right. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

35:40 CJ: Yeah. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

40:36 Leah: Bye. 

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

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

Key Points From This Episode:

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


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

“When people think that it’s the tool or the software that’s the magic pill for success, it drives me nuts!” — @LEAHthemusic [0:10:33]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Savvy Musician Academy Website — https://savvymusicianacademy.com/  

Savvy Musician Inner Circle — https://savvymusicianacademy.com/innercircle 

Book A Call — https://savvymusicianacademy.com/elite/call/ 

Shopify — https://www.shopify.com/?ref=savvy-musician-academy 

Click For Full Transcript

00:22 CJ: Welcome once again to the Savvy Musician Show. This is CJ Ortiz, I’m the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. Once again, always delighted, I’m the honourable one who gets to sit across from the lovely Leah McHenry. How are you?

00:39 Leah: Doing really good, thank you.

00:41 CJ: I say, always a pleasure but I actually see her a lot more often than you might think, we normally just get together for a podcast but this is a good time for us because we can spell out for all of you interested listeners, all the wonderful intricate details about music marketing which is becoming more and more a popular thing. Leah, I see more and more people offering or trying to offer something somewhat similar and I’m just – 

Call me biased but I still think SMA is the most extensive, comprehensive, in-depth, multi-level, four-level chess version of music marketing, am I wrong?

01:21 Leah: I have to agree. I mean, not just because I’m the creator of it but I think, you know, the more I see out there and, in a sense, I always say, this is a good thing. The good thing is there are more people out there trying to help musicians. Or what it tells me is that musicians are waking up and that there’s a demand for knowledge, there’s a demand for levelling up and we are accomplishing the very thing we’re trying to do, which is helping people gain an awareness and understanding of what they’re capable of in today’s music industry, without labels.

In a way, it really tells me this is a very good thing. Unfortunately, you know, you have to use a lot of discernment when you’re – pick and choose who you’re learning from. I always say, choose somebody that you want to emulate, who inspires you, who speaks to you, that resonates with you. I don’t resonate with everybody, that’s totally fine, you’ve got to choose somebody who you do resonate with. But choose somebody who is doing what you want to do because they’ll know firsthand how to do it.

If you want to be like me, you know, learn to at least have control over your career, like when you want to release something, when or if you want a tour. So that’s never an issue for me. I just do what I want, when I want to. Often, I’m sometimes too ambitious for my own good but I’m still the one at the end of the day making the decisions and you can’t ask for anything better than that. 

02:52 CJ: No. Let me say this though, granted, a biased source here, however, let me say this though, I’ve been 30 years in design, marketing, advertising, communications, et cetera, this has been my whole adult life. I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen the advent of the internet, I’ve seen every industry change, and be impacted by new technology, et cetera. I have seen now up close, for a few years, all the different marketing offers out there for music.

I will say this, when I look at a lot of what you would consider to be Leah’s competition, it’s usually focused on a few things, it might be focused on Spotify listening, get your Spotify listening up, or it may be focused on being on YouTube, or it may be focused on getting more tickets sold at your event, what have you.

None of it is really comprehensive. When you’re talking about a total system for anybody in any of those situations. Something interesting you said to me just the other day was, you went to go speak at a private event, a high-ticket private event where there was a world-class vocalist in attendance and these are people who are on the shows, right? They’re on the Big Voice competition.

And, you did your basic presentation that you’ve done on Webinar for everybody online and you were taken aback by how many of them were just furiously taking notes because they weren’t doing anything like this. That’s how much this is not understood. People like that who don’t really understand and I’m talking to the people who are listening, then it’s going to be hard for them to be discerning at times because they don’t necessarily know what they should be looking for.

Which is what I appreciate about us doing the weekly podcast is because we get the opportunity to present in volume fashion, all of the elements that are involved. If you just look through that current archives of podcast now, look at how many different topics are being covered and we’re covering another one in a different way today but all to say is Savvy Musician Academy for me, with the trained eyes that I’m looking through, is the most comprehensive thing that I’ve ever seen.

Not just in relation to music marketing but marketing in general, which is why I’ve linked arms with you Leah and your team and well, I am a part of your team, let’s just say it that way. That’s why I got on board so for those who are listening, yeah.

05:31 Leah: It’s interesting too. I never, you know, when I started Savvy Musician Academy, I didn’t realize that you could do something other than comprehensive. To me, it was like – it probably has a thing to do with my world view, you know? That it has to touch on everything, you know? How you do one thing is how you do everything and if you don’t touch on these other things and it’s incomplete and not going to be effective.

For me, it has to, you know, you can’t talk about building a fan base without addressing your niche and your brand and your image and all these other things. We can’t talk about a Facebook ad without talking about the core of who you are as an artist and your background and who your fans are and getting into their head.

It has to be comprehensive or it won’t be effective. If it’s not comprehensive, it’s a silly tactic and nothing more. And it will change next week.

06:25 CJ: Well, that’s a big thing, that is a really big thing and I’ll mention more about the Savvy Musician Inner Circle, for those of you who don’t know about it, it’s the new newsletter that was just launched. But the gist of it is, is that in this newsletter now which is subscription-based, we’re putting out all the information, the up to date information, on everything that’s changing in technology, in marketing, in social media, that relates to musicians and artists and creators.

Because it’s always changing. You don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket, I’ve seen some of these other music marketing and they’re only about YouTube. You look at their Facebook page and it doesn’t have the engagement. They’re not teaching about email. That means the whole premise is, they’re showing you how to build something on someone else’s real estate.

You don’t own anything yourself as a musician and so, that’s why guys, I recommend what Leah does because she’s all about really helping you build your empire and protecting that.

07:28 Leah: There’s just something that even happened yesterday. I got tagged in a random thread in a Click Funnel’s Facebook group and like I don’t even ever go in there. I’ve had a click funnels account in the past and have been experimenting with different software, anyways, for some reason I got tagged.

Someone had asked, “Hey, does anybody here use click funnels to market their music and build their email list?” Everybody started going, “You should follow this person, you should follow this person” and some of them are colleagues of mine or competitors or whatever you want to call them. They started listening to all these people and people said, “Wait a minute, why are you assuming this person is asking about who he wants to learn from as marketers?” I said, “Well, are you trying to market your own music or are you trying to market teaching?”

Then it was something completely different. I was like, “First of all, don’t assume,” right? “Ask this person what they’re actually asking.” It was like, “No, I want to market my client’s music.” Okay, first of all, everybody’s going on “Yeah, so and so, these other people, they’re all Click Funnels” and I said, “Well, since you tagged me, what I’ll tell you is that I do not use click funnels and it’s not great for music marketing and here’s why…”

If you’re serious about marketing music and selling volume at any rate with physical or digital, Click Funnels doesn’t play nice with Shopify. It’s extremely difficult and clunky and doesn’t really work well at all. I know because I’ve tried this. For that reason – and Shopify absolutely has to be a must. If you have any success online with selling physical merchandise, Shopify is a must.

That just goes to show, all these other people who they may love a certain piece of software or something, but I don’t know how people are actually going to tell the truth about some of these things.

09:16 CJ: Well, I mean, it’s comparable because it shows that people don’t understand how comprehensive something needs to be. That you can’t have one thing, somebody may not think that the integration between Shopify and click funnels is an important thing because you’re not even thinking about merchandise for example.

Whereas that’s the beauty of SMA, the Savvy Musician Academy is that we’re talking about everything from Spotify to Shopify, you know? It’s about the integration and it’s about, you know, you recommend certain software in that for email and for this and for that because you’ve tried everything, you’ve experienced the problems, et cetera.

Then, you constantly keep everybody up to date with the latest changes, you’ll come in do a video show, “Hey, this particular software added this feature, this is going to be important for you to understand so here’s my screen, let me show you what I’m going.”

You are constantly updated with the very latest and we go into in our elite group, into so much about psychographics and copywriting and I mean, the hardcore principles of direct marketing. We’re not relying upon a funnel software. It’s not getting the right software that makes this work. It’s sales, this is sales, you know?

10:33 Leah: I mean, that drives me nuts too when people think that it’s the tool or the software and that that’s the magic pill for success. None of it matters. I mean, really, if you had none of it, the question is, can you sell anything? Do you know how to sell anything? Then it doesn’t matter, you can make anything work. I think it disturbed me when I’m seeing like all these people thinking that click funnels is going to really work when I’m like, you haven’t even thought so far as to like how you’re going to sell volume of merchandise.

You’re not thinking about e-commerce. Yes, you can sell physical things through click funnels. Some people have had tremendous success but we’re dealing with an e-commerce society and they expect a certain experience. I think also, I will just say, in case anybody is wondering if I like Click Funnels. No.

I mean, I think there’s some great people and great teaching that has come through that. But Facebook doesn’t like click funnels, if you use click funnels as your landing page software, it’s pretty well known that they’re like, I don’t know if you want to call it like ghosted or black-listed or whatever but your ads will be more expensive. Also, the speed load – 

11:44 CJ: The load time?

11:44 Leah: Yeah, the load speed of click funnels pages is too slow and Facebook is now penalizing. When you send traffic to a page that doesn’t load lightning speed fast, you will be penalized for that. They will lower your reach, or your ad cost will go up, things like that. For those reasons, Shopify remains the best, it is the fastest for sending any kind of traffic there for people to buy stuff. I just want to get that out of my system.

12:12 CJ: No, I think that’s really important and you know, again, first of all, at the ground level, Leah is going to teach you how to sell physical products so it’s not simply digital downloads or a CD or vinyl. It’s getting into the depths of how to get the right design for your shirt, what to put on shirts, what other kinds of products can you potentially sell.

The whole dropshipping print-on-demand aspect of things. It gets into integrating these things with email providers and like Leah said, something as simple as knowing that your particular software you’re using over here for a funnel system is being penalized by Facebook.

This is the kind of information that’s shared all the time, within the Savvy Musician, especially the elite group. We talk about these things because they’re all pertinent and relevant. Somebody can sit there and think, Leah, “Hey, I’m an artist, not a marketer,” you know?

13:15 Leah: You are always marketing. You’re either doing a good job or a bad job but you’re always marketing.

13:19 CJ: Yeah, you’re always marketing and so the point here with something like SMA is again, it’s comprehensive. So in other words, it’s totalism. We leave no stone unturned when it comes to what’s important for you. Even if for example, you’re not wanting to do what Leah does, which is you know, the stay at home mom who is not necessarily touring right now. You know, you can even just make a revenue from selling your music and merchandise online.

You can still use every bit of what Leah teaches in her courses to get people out to events, anything you need to sell, any message you need to get out there is covered in the Savvy Musician Academy. 

But for me, I really believe that, and I’ve said this before, that this is probably the most important thing and not just for musicians as we said before, for artist of all kinds, creators, authors, you name it. I mean, you could literally be an author or some sort of other creator and be a part of the Savvy Musician Academy and be light-years ahead in your own industry. Just because the principles apply.

14:35 Leah: Yeah, that’s the thing is we built the programs, not off of the music industry. We built the programs off of what works online in any business. It’s just business and marketing principles. I mean, that’s how I had any success at all was the very beginning word got into my story, maybe in this part two but I stopped studying the music industry.

The only reason I had any success is because I stopped studying that and I started studying business and marketing, online marketing, with what’s working for anybody online. I was desperate so let me just try that. It was very weird, very awkward to try to apply it because I had to – this is weird, I’m not selling socks or paint or something that people need, you know? Sticks or sleep apnea, this is not a need, this is how art – and how do I make people need – 

Where are the pain points in trying to sell music, you know? Everyone’s saying you have to press into a pain point. I don’t know how this solves pain? This is weird. I don’t know what to do. It was a very awkward transition. I was so worried about being sales-y, I was so worried about turning people off, I didn’t want to bother people, worry about emailing them too often.

All those things that every person, not just artist, every person when you’re building business goes through that phase, where they’re just not like sure where the boundaries are, how much is too much, what’s too little and how do I get the messaging right, you know, you have to find your voice online because if you have your own personality and like how much of that do I show? I feel very exposed.

There’s so many elements to having an online presence with your fans and just getting used to being in the public eye but for the whole world rather than just for 30 people at a gig, it was just so awkward. However, when I did manage to bridge that gap, I mean, that’s where everything really changed for me. I just started applying things even if they felt weird and uncomfortable and not even like, it quite fit for music. I still did it. 

That’s where all my success came from the beginning, that’s where I made you know, my first $30,000, $50,000 and then $100,000 in a year, was from applying awkward business principles that I didn’t know how they would fit in music. You have to understand, I guess like we’ve said before, it’s in my DNA to teach and be able to take principles that maybe even abstract at times and put them into extremely practical steps because maybe I have kids and I’ve homeschooled and I don’t know, not everybody’s cut out for that but I’ve been able to figure out how to teach it to thousands of people and they’re able – that’s probably the number one thing I hear from them is they love my teaching style and that it was easy to follow, easy to implement and then I taught what was important and I gave them all the things they needed but without the fluff. 

I don’t like wasting time, I don’t like other people wasting time and I know that our attention spans are short. I like to get to the point on things. All that just to say that our program, Savvy Musician Academy, it’s all built on what works in digital marketing and what works in business and the timeless principles. Yes, tactics change, platforms change, algorithms change and that’s what our Savvy Musician Inner Circle is for, those are addressing those things. 

So whether you’re a student or not. Even if you’re an advanced student or you’re at the beginning, you’ve never built a fan base, everybody needs to be consuming that continent, everybody needs to because that is where we are addressing that but regardless of that, we are very much of principle-based company. When I come out with my book, so I am going to seed that right now, when I come out with my book that I wrote a while back that is a book that I want to stay on your shelf that stays relevant for the next 20, 30 years, something that you can go back to that becomes a classic, that is not based on the current algorithms because I’d have to write a new book every year. 

So that is why I think we have grown and why we have so many students from around the world is because they can actually take these principles and apply it into other businesses. We actually hear about it all the time where we have people who are either personal trainers, hairstylists, other people who have other day jobs and they’re like, “I didn’t expect to come out of this with a marketing degree but that’s what I feel like I got here.” 

“I feel like I went to school without going to school except I actually learned something that was relevant.” I also heard a statistic that in today’s modern colleges, by year three after they have come out with a course that information is now obsolete. So that’s the other benefit of going to an online program or academy. Of course, it is a fraction of the price of what you pay for college courses and university courses and it is always going to be up to date. 

We always update it every year as often as needed. So, I just think that is what an amazing time we live in that you guys have the privilege of being able to have access to that kind of thing. 

19:30 CJ: Yes, they are in a very fortunate position because you have gone through a lot of this and purged as you said of the fluff and got things narrowed down to what’s relevant, what works, what’s the most timely. But because again it’s so comprehensive than you are learning so much, which again makes the point that somebody can go out, whether they’re a hairdresser or a trainer or something, and apply the very same principles, have the very same software, same approach, same copyrighting. 

All of that stuff, learn all of this and be able to experience the same sort of quick turnarounds, have the same sort of revenue goals that anybody else would have. To me, again, and to be able to do this from the comfort of your own home as they say, to be able to do that and take courses like this. Again, what is so important to contrast you again with these other online marketers is that you have not isolated this down to one thing. It is not YouTube views, you know hoping – 

20:40 Leah: You can only get this many subscribers. 

20:43 CJ: Yeah talk to all – I mean I see them all the time now, all the guys and gals, YouTube influencers who helped build YouTube, are now ranting and raving because YouTube changed the rules now. A lot of them got deplatformed because some of them were political and they’re crushed. Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of ad revenue they were getting, gone overnight. I mean absolutely gone overnight. 

Others, because what YouTube is doing now, YouTube is now making all their rankings for all the major news networks and Disney and all of that sort of thing. So all the high subscriber, high view YouTube influencers, they’re way down. So they don’t show up on the suggestions anymore. They don’t show up on the rankings anymore. So it is crushing them. So now they’re running for Patreon accounts and Bitcoin accounts and “Hey share this video because YouTube has taken us away,” well yeah. 

So why would you want to take a music marketing course that’s all about building YouTube views, right? And besides that, how are you going – great, you got a million views on YouTube, who knows what revenue you’re going to get out of that A, and then B, with what we teach in the elite course and even on Online Musician is when you got Facebook pixels running on the landing pages for people who are watching your video on your site, or watching even your video on Facebook you are getting all of that information. 

All of those people that you can retarget later. I don’t know how anybody with a million views on YouTube is retargeting a million people. You might as well have nobody viewing your video. You get a million views on a Facebook video and Facebook will keep all of those people who watched your video, will keep a record of them and you will be able to literally create a list that you can then send ads or more content to bring them to your page, get them on your email list and now you own your own empire. That’s the difference. 

22:44 Leah: Oh yeah and I mean I think YouTube and Google they are trying to now copy things that Facebook has done because it obviously works very well but it is such a pain in the butt, believe me. I always have to tell our students, “Listen, if it is not in the course don’t do it” I didn’t put it in there for a very specific reason not because I am trying to withhold anything from you. I am the first person that wants your success, believe me, I want to see your success story. 

I want to plaster you all over the internet about how amazing you have done and what you have accomplished. If I didn’t put it in there it is for a very good reason. You need to trust me as your mother. Eat your vegetables, listen. You know I didn’t put it in there for a reason and it is to protect you from wasting time or money or effort that is not that productive. So if you have – unless you have an unlimited budget don’t be spending it on YouTube. Don’t be trying to do it. 

They’re trying to do the whole custom audience thing like Facebook, but it is not even comparable. It is a beast and we don’t even use it all in SMA for a reason, not that we won’t experiment and if things change guys, we update things. But as of right now, you don’t even need to be there. 

So I don’t know how, you know that is a good point. I didn’t think about other people in the space teaching this stuff that are very platform-centric, where it’s just like “Master this one thing.” Whereas I see it like if you are going to have long term success, you need to learn how to market. Just learn how to market and then platforms will come and go but then you will never be taken aback by it. 

You are not going to be like – you know like MySpace. Once upon a time MySpace was the Facebook and people had millions of followers and it was the YouTube, it was everything and then what happened there? It just went, poof, it was gone. People are never able to contact their followers. They lost everything. So don’t make the same mistake with Facebook or YouTube or anything. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. 

The best asset that you can ever build is your email list because you control that. No one can take that away and you can create audiences, lookalike audiences from it. You can do all kinds of really ninja stuff with it, but the bottom line is that if it all went away tomorrow, I could still make a living from my email list, hands down. 

25:00 CJ: That’s the key. I mean you can find a good says person, right? A good salesperson and you look at their job history and they’ve been with several companies over their career because that is what salespeople do. They are just going to go sell this, they’re going to go sell that but because they are good sales people, they will never ever, ever be without a job. They will never be begging for money because they know how to sell and every company needs someone who can sell. 

Which you’re going to learn and what we talk about is how to be a marketer, how to be a promoter of your particular brand. Now more than just – we are not talking about being the used car salesman. Nothing like that, we are talking about the full scope and dimensions of sales is going to be everything from subtle to straight on. You are going to learn all of that sort of stuff. 

The point is, is that you’ll finally take your music into that business level. You will finally see yourself as a music business and not just an artist trying to get somebody to come save them, trying to get somebody to come find them, hoping a video or song will go viral or maybe a record label will pick them up or maybe Band Camp will do it for them or maybe Bandzoogle will do that for them or whatever. Maybe they will get enough Spotify views. No, you will be able to target your ideal fans. People who already like your kind of music. 

You are going to be able to build a social media following but not just to have those metrics, vanity metrics, but to be able to like Leah just said, to take those people and get them onto your dedicated email list. Think about this, you know, I would rather have 10,000 radical super fans of my music on an email list than 10 million views on YouTube video because I can keep, like you said, as long as you have the need your email list, if all the platforms went away, you could continue to sell. 

Now it is not just having an email list, you got to know how to groom it, nurture it, you got to know how to build that relationship. You got to find your voice, you got to know your brand. We talk so much about branding and social media influencing. We are not just hardcore on the software or the marketing stuff, we get into everything. We get into Facebook groups, we get into building community, we get into studying culture, all of these things.

They are all a part of it, under this general big rubric we call marketing. Digital marketing. Let me tell you something like Leah said earlier this is the new era in which we live ladies and gentlemen. You think, “Well I heard Facebook, I heard email is dead” no, you can’t do anything without email. Everything is going, just as the fact that everything is now going to e-commerce. I said this to you recently Leah, where I’ve gone to the shopping mall that I’ve been to. A beautiful mall, it was a ghost town. Well, did people stop buying things? No, they’re just not going to physical stores that much anymore. So, you will see it even in the holidays this year, you’re probably going to be able to find a parking place at the mall.

28:19 Leah: That’s right. Let me tell you something. I am beginning to plan for Black Friday right now for August because of this e-commerce and the fourth quarter of the year is the biggest, it is the biggest quarter of the year for anybody selling anything online. I actually plan after we record this, I am going to be making a video for our elite students that I am posting in the Facebook group and I am going to be walking them through my whole Black Friday plan. 

What they need to be doing in the month of August, what they need to do in the month of September, in October, November, all the way up to December, to properly do this and make the most money they have ever made this year with their music because people have no idea. I mean that’s just the fact that that’s the way people are shopping now. 

29:05 CJ: Yeah and so you can’t do anything. You can’t buy anything on any commerce website especially Amazon, without having an email address period. If you want to keep up with your tracking information, they are going to be sending you emails. You book a flight they are going to tell you what email address you’d like to use. Everything is based on email ergo, how could email be dead? Email is very much alive, what’s dead is spam. 

29:40 Leah: Right or like grandma forwarding you the whatever, bunnies frolicking in the field that you used to get. So many forwards but that went to Facebook. That is what Facebook is for now, you know the cat memes and we get all of that there. But email is certainly not going away. It has certainly not died. It is a little more transactional than it was but people definitely newsletters are not dead at all like people – I mean my husband subscribes to financial newsletters that he reads them. 

You know if you sign up for markers you get a ton of emails from those people. I mean there is a lot of people getting newsletter and still reading them, engaging with them, especially other artists they care about. I read every email from artists that I love. If I get an email from them, I always open those. I think there is special relationships still that are interacting in the ways that maybe you are doubting but it is happening, and it couldn’t be more true than in the e-commerce setting. 

So the point is with all of this, learn how to be a good marketer and you will not be fazed by platforms and changes because this would be like, “Okay there’s a change” or this platform is not doing well I am going to go over here and I am going to learn how it works and because I got my brand in order, because I understand my culture and I found my voice. I know how to be my authentic self in a way that inspires people to want to support my art and I am confident in that. And I have no guilt whatsoever by saying the word by now or go to this link and purchase it.” And you have full confidence in that. 

Do you know how life changing that is? Do you know that when you can get to that place you not only can support yourself in your own music career – there is no reason why you couldn’t build something else on the side and do a million dollars because that is the power of these principles. It is the same thing. 

It is the same thing that Brent Cardone or any of these people out there, Tim Farris, they are all using the same principles to do what they do. So that’s why I say you need to think much bigger. You are still thinking small potatoes that guarantee that if you listen to this, you are thinking like, “Oh how do I make my next 100 dollars?” You need to think bigger than that. How do I make my next $100,000, $200,000?” That is where you need to go. 

32:05 CJ: Right financial security for you means becoming a good marketer, learn marketing and that is the best way to secure your future. Something will always need to be marketed and I want to just take this opportunity again as I said earlier, we have launched the Savvy Musician Inner Circle newsletter. I love this thing, Leah. You were just talking about how newsletters have not gone out of style. In fact, I am expecting it to become more and more in style. 

And so again, to help our listeners and those who are in our groups and classes to keep up with everything, the constant changes and to stay encouraged and to stay motivated, you have created the Savvy Musician Inner Circle newsletter and it is dedicated to these very things that we’ve been talking about. It is true, you know that not everybody can be in the elite group and maybe not everybody will buy the Online Musician Course or what have you. 

We understand that. We want you to get to that place where you can. We want you to start making money so that you can become a part of investing yourself. You have to always be investing in yourself but what I love about the Savvy Musician Inner Circle newsletter Leah, is that it is a subscription newsletter. So it is one issue a month and it is just $19.99, so I mean everybody can get that. Everybody can do that. 

33:27 Leah: You have no excuse. You have that laying in your couch somewhere. 

33:30 CJ: Yeah I do. 

33:32 Leah: Yeah, somewhere between the couch cushions or in a pocket in the washing machine. It is in there. 

33:38 CJ: You’ve got it. So I want everybody who is listening right now to stop what you are doing and I want you to go to savvymusicianacademy.com/innercircle and you can also go to the show notes to get the link there. I want you to go and check out, Leah did a walkthrough video taking you through our first issue. We just published our second one and getting ready to do the third issue here pretty soon. 

So Savvy Musician Inner Circle is your call to action for today. I want you to go again, check that out and subscribe today. Tell somebody else about it. In fact you can get your first month for just one dollar, right? 

34:19 Leah: Yes, you have no excuse. I expect to see you in there. I want to hear from you about what you thought about it because we’re always going to be working on it and improving it. This is something that I wish I had this resource, I really did. Even a few years ago, I wish there had been something that I could consume, not even in the marketing world could I find this. So this is amazing, go sign up. 

34:39 CJ: But for those of you who are listening also, please do us a favour and go and review this podcast. It always helps other people to find the podcast and helps us to keep high in the rankings. So go to your Spotify, Stitcher, iTunes, whatever you are listening on and leave a comment. Give us five stars, we appreciate that. 

Leah, once again always a pleasure. We will see you guys next time. 

Episode #060: How To Sell More Merchandise Online

Today’s show is focussed on the world of merchandising and selling this merch through an online store! For Leah, her merch and online sales have made up such a big part of her business and ultimate success and so her and CJ really want to impress upon all the listeners how important the way you approach this stuff can be. To start, Leah unpacks the impact it made when she started giving e-commerce its rightful dues and learning about it in a focussed and engaged way. From there she talks about the principles of increasing revenue in the online world and why she cannot recommend Shopify highly enough. The discussion also covers serving your fans and looking for their feedback as your number one directive in further products and offers. We also talk about photography and copywriting and these two seemingly small aspects are so pivotal in the sales process. To finish off, Leah shares her passion for adopting a ‘print on demand’ model for her shop and a few ways to improve conversion rates to completed sales. For all of this great information and more, tune in today!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Today’s #win student spotlight message! 
  • The hugely significant role that e-commerce and merchandise have played in Leah’s work. 
  • The three basic ways of increasing your revenue as an e-commerce business. 
  • Why Leah recommends Shopify above all other platforms. 
  • Leah’s focus on serving her fans and why this is so important.
  • Product photography and the impact that quality pictures can make.
  • Taking care to properly represent your product through appropriate and thoughtful descriptions.  
  • Abandoned carts and increasing conversion rates to completed sales. 
  • Familiarity and trustworthiness as the two most important factors for an online store.
  • The joys and wonder of the print on demand model! 
  • And much more! 


“This was an accidental coaching business in many respects. I was out there to make money with my music. That was the whole point of what I was doing.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:04:07]

“Anything that applies online is going to apply offline. Not everything offline applies online.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:09:46]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Savvy Musician Academy — https://savvymusicianacademy.com/elite/call/

Savvy Musician Mastermind on Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/groups/savvymusician/

Savvy Musician Spotify course — www.savvymusicianacademy.com/Spotify

WordPress — https://wordpress.com/

Shopify — https://www.shopify.com/?ref=savvy-musician-academy 

Bethan Nia (Student Spotlight) — https://welshharpist.co.uk/ 

Click For Full Transcript

00:22 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 am the chosen one who gets to sit across from the illustrious one, Ms. Leah McHenry, how are you doing? 

00:40 Leah: Thanks, illustrious, that’s a new one.

00:44 CJ: I got a million of them. Good things happening on the podcast, it is enjoyable for me to be able to sit down and do these with you Leah, we have great offline conversations and that’s great to take these online as well and talk about all the myriad of things, the ever-changing aspects of online music marketing and that’s really – this is what this is. There are a million and one ways to skin a cat, there are other ways that people are playing music for a living or doing something to push their music business forward.

You’ve had significant success doing this yourself and so, you kind of carved out a path, you developed your way of doing things over time, through trial and error, tremendous investment of time and money on your part and have gotten tremendous returns on that and I remember when you started, I remember getting your first album and where things were with you.

Just to turn around and come back to it and see just how many other – that must have been pretty significant, I know what it’s like from when I do my motivational aspect but when you got started, not many people knew you and it’s one thing they build your own fan base musically. But, then Leah, to on that other side of your decision to start the Savvy Musician Academy just to know how many lives, musicians and careers that you’ve impacted, it’s got to be pretty significant.

02:13 Leah: Yeah, it blows me away. I mean, A lot of you guys know the story or have heard the story but when I started out, really getting serious about my music career. I was approached by a lot of friends actually, other mom friends of mine who are singers and songwriters and they were asking, how was I getting all these results and everything and ended up thinking, you know, it would be helpful if I just compiled all these knowledge I have into an ebook.

I don’t know, it must be just in my blood or DNA, my ability to teach. My dad was a principal of a private school for many years. I think something in the DNA, where he was always very good at being able to take complex concepts and principles and be able to break it down in easy to understand format. Just kind of bite-sized and he’d explain these science concepts to me, political concepts to me in a way I could understand and I think that taught me how to teach.

I ended up putting that into a little ebook and that went over really well and then, of course, that ended up turning into a video course format and once we released that and I started doing webinars. I saw webinars were becoming a thing and I thought that would be a great way to get this message out to the world is in that kind of teaching style format.

I saw some other webinars out there and I thought, “Well, I’ve never done this but I’m pretty sure I can kill that.” I did and it did, it blew up like very quickly and before we knew it, there were thousands of students and actually, that became quite stressful too, I will say. Going from just putting something out there to all of a sudden, my goodness, dealing with hundreds and hundreds of people from a customer service standpoint and a growth standpoint and a leadership standpoint. I mean, you are forced to really grow. 

You know, the fact that I’m sitting here and that we’ve done all this and we’ve helped thousands of people, I never imagined that I would be here. I never imagined that we would be doing this, that wasn’t even my intention. This really was an accidental coaching business in many respects. I was out there to really make money with my own music. That was the whole point of what I was doing and then I found out, I had this other passion, this other calling for helping other people, teaching and I’m pretty darn good at it. Here we are.

04:25 CJ: Ain’t that amazing? It’s funny how you work so hard at something, right? You don’t know where you’re going to land and over time, you refine every little end of it and you travel loose ends as they say and by the time you’re all done and get to the place. It’s as if it was meant to be. Somebody looking who didn’t see all the work that went into it, they could say, it’s almost as if it was meant to be.

Yeah, well, that’s how great things happen, it can seem like that way, what others call destiny or something, you know, the end result of a lot of toil and innovation and experimentation, et cetera and e voila. You know, especially something like this now which is so needed by the huge tribe of independent musicians around the world that need this sort of thing.

You know, one of the things that I think became a big part which I’m going to talk about today for you was selling merchandise. You know, which is not common. Maybe the big bands will sell merchandise on their tours and that’s how they get a lot of their income from it but it became a significant part of what you did and we’re going to talk about that in the whole merchandise philosophy, the e-commerce philosophy, which is really unique amongst the music marketing space and people out there.

Leah, I don’t know a whole lot of people that can really speak to this area with depth and authority like you can. Again, another reason why this podcast and your courses are so important but before we get into that, I want to just share a little student spotlight and today’s win is from Bethania. She writes, “I am consistently getting great engagement on my posts and have top fans who regularly comment on my posts.”

“I’m so over the moon that I have dialled in my culture and that I’m so certain now of my brand and culture and what my fans liked to see. I know that this is going to be so beneficial when I release my album and run a crowdfunding campaign. And a big thank you to CJ for helping me really hone in on my branding. One of my fans in my page even suggested I become a TV producer, as my post and images are so strong. Hey, think outside the box, anything is possible.” Great.

06:44 Leah: Fantastic. 

06:46 CJ: We applaud that Bethan, good for you, applying the information, getting results isn’t that what it’s all about Leah?

06:52 Leah: Exactly. I see Bethan I see you in our Elite Group, you are consistent, you act or you ask for help when you need it, you used the resources, you’re using the group. I’m not surprised by this in this sense because you’re doing exactly what you should be doing so we’re proud of you.

07:10 CJ: That’s great, awesome. Good for you. Again, you guys can get this sorts of results, you can dial in things for your music brand and find your target audience and build up your super fans and this is so important, it relates to what we’re about to talk about is again, Leah is not out here telling you that you’re going to become a household name and this is how you’re going to fill arenas.

No, if you want to play music for a living, write your music. You don’t need to be a household name in order to make a full time living with your music. You just need what Leah refers to as her super fans. People who are just crazy about you, crazy about your music, crazy about the culture that you both share together and how you can leverage that with a small amount of people and turn that into a profitable online music business and we’re going to get into a key aspect of that today as we talk about how to sell more merchandise online.

Maybe you haven’t even sold any yet. Maybe that’s not even a part. But, it’s important for you to understand this so that you go into your career in music. You may not even have an album out yet. But you come into your next season armed with these possibilities and that’s what it is. You’re going to be armed with possibilities and opportunities.

Okay, Leah then, let me ask you this. How significant a role has this aspect, merchandise, e-commerce played in your music business?

08:43 Leah: It has been a game-changer for me. Ever since I had the lightbulb go off in my brain that I need to stop treating my music career like a typical music business and I need to start treating it like an e-commerce business. There are several reasons why and I’ll explain them and then I want to talk a little bit about some of the details there. You know, I think people typically, when I think about selling music.

They think about only selling their music. I think that’s what most people do. Then, when I think about selling merchandise, they’re thinking about what bands do at a concert, you know? They’ve got this merch booth and a table of you know, t-shirts and hoodies and key chains and stuff and that’s cool. But they don’t translate that into online and I particularly deal with training people in how to sell their music and merchandise online because that was the only tool that I had and I’m doing multiple six figures doing that without touring at all.

To me, here’s one concept that you can take right now. Anything that applies online is going to apply offline. Not everything offline applies online but I think anything you learn online will translate very well offline. In some cases, you can switch them back and forth. But, you got to treat them very differently. People’s behaviours and the psychology behind how people buy things online is different than in person.

You need to be educated on those things and we deal a lot within our Elite Course, you know, I don’t even call it a shameless plug because I really believe that everybody needs this information. You can’t succeed without understanding the nuts and bolts of these concepts. You know, when I stopped treating it like just selling music and I started treating it like e-commerce, all e-commerce is, is buying something on the internet and it’s the way the transaction happens and then getting it in the mail, right?

Before the internet, there was mail order and people would get a flier or something in their mailbox and if the ad sold them on it, they would write them a check or write all the numbers of their credit card in there, mail it away. I mean, that was the old school version of e-commerce.

Now we have the internet and now people can shop so much quicker. They can see something and on an impulse, put in their PayPal or credit card and buy something right now if it appeals to them. Then, have it sent to their house and so talk about convenience. This is – I mean, you’ve never had a better chance at selling music and merchandise than now.

It has played a huge part and specifically when I started treating things like an eCommerce business. I started to think a little beyond just selling music. When I first got started, I just wanted to validate the music itself and once I got past that point and I realized hey, people do like my sound they do like my brand, they do like my music. I can now venture out. 

I did things incrementally so I first waited till there was some demand, “We want a t-shirt, you know? We want more stuff.” Okay cool, we’re going to do a t-shirt and we did a short run of them. I made sure I could sell that and if I couldn’t sell it, I would probably start to analyze why. Was it the design, was it the price, was it the product, was it my copy, you know, was it the description that I had?

There’s so much that goes into the psychology and that’s what I want people to understand that if people don’t buy your merchandise, there’s a very good reason why. It’s not because they didn’t want to buy it, it’s because you sucked at something. You have to figure out what it is.

12:19 CJ: You’re right.

12:21 Leah: Once you figure it out, you can literally sell – 

12:25 CJ: You can scale it.

12:25 Leah: You can start scaling that and add other things. Game changer, when you start treating this like an e-commerce business, instead of a music business.

12:37 CJ: That is so huge. Just that phrase, when I learned to stop treating it like a music business and started treating it like an e-commerce business. Because that literally is the entire approach here. When we say online marketing, granted, you know, the social media aspect plays a role that’s all the stuff we do to warm the market so to speak, to get people ready to make a purchase.

It all is going to begin right there when you change your thinking. One thing Amazon has done is taught everybody to be an online shopper, you know? People are in that mode now, you’re seeing the statistics every year at the holiday time, how people are doing more and more of their shopping online. I do more and more things online because of our approach to nutrition, et cetera. 

You know, we’re not eating sweets or all that kind of stuff. Whether you can have diet drinks or what have you, whether those sweeteners are bad for you but my son had found the stevia-based soft drinks and they’re surprisingly good. I mean, they’re so pure, if you were to pour out the root beer one in a glass, it’s actually clear.

13:48 Leah: Clear, I love those.

13:51 CJ: Because there’s no food colouring, none of that junk in it but it actually tastes like root beer. But, you know, we’re like, “Okay, let’s see if they have any other – they have the Mountain Dew flavour or a Sprite kind of flavour,” and because he only found a few at the store and there’s so many more. He’s like, “well, should we find another store?” I said, “Son, I guarantee you, they’ll send it to you,” you know?

Sure enough, there’s all these assorted cases that you could get. Nowadays, even when I’m looking at something online like if I go to an OfficeMax or a staples.com or BestBuy. You see them in Target and things like that, it says, you have the option in-store or have it delivered. I think more and more people are getting into that mode which means, if you’re going to capitalize that, on that. You have to think like someone who is running an e-commerce business.

14:43 Leah: Absolutely. You know, I wanted to just do a little teaching here for a second and for everybody listening, whether you’re a student or you’re not a student of ours, you know, there are only three ways to increase your revenue. Three ways and there’s probably a few more than that but these are the basic ones in any business, okay?

You can either increase your prices, you can add more products for people to buy and you can add more customers, okay? Those are the three basic ways to increase your revenue. In an e-commerce setting, we can do all three of them, we might do two at times, we might increase a price or lower it for a discount during a promotion or something.

This is what the game-changer is for me. Is that I can add more products specifically and then I can add more customers and here’s my specific approach. When I had this little epiphany, I was like, “My gosh, this is a really cool idea that I’m going here.” Here’s what I decided to do. I thought, what I’m going to do is I’m going to create a music store like my shop where I sell my music and I sell other products that align with my brand and my culture and that way, then what I’m going to do is I’m going to advertise to both my fans and I’m going to advertise to cold audiences that don’t own my music.

The thing is, my other items are going to be so cool, they’re going to look awesome enough that they would buy those things without ever hearing my music, without knowing who I am, just because you know, whether it’s an impulse buy or they just really like it and I know how target those people. The thing is, this whole foundation is resting upon the fact that you know your niche and you know your culture.

You should build your entire e-commerce brand based off of that culture. Rather than having a general store where you are selling, you know, fishing rods and CDs and socks. Well, you could sell socks but you know, don’t do that. You should really appeal to a specific culture and we have specific modules and even episodes on this podcast where we talk about and of course we go much more in-depth in our programs.

But the whole thing is resting on culture, that’s it. That way, I can target a cold audience, people who don’t know me and they’re going to come for the product and they might even stay for the music and then what happens is if they buy something, let’s say, even like a cheaper product and they get into my email system, guess what they’re going to be hearing about? My music. I’m now going to turn them into a fan. 

What I’m doing here is kind of cross-pollinating, cross-promoting. I’m going to – in these three ways to increase revenue prices, increase prices, add more product or add more customers, I’m going to add more products for my existing fans and the price is going to go up or down depending on what I’m doing and then I’m going to add more customers, so people who aren’t even fans of mine yet, I’m going to present them other products and then introduce them to my music.

I’m doing two things at once and that has become real powerful machine for me and that’s what our whole Super Fan System Elite Program is based on is this entire concept of this e-commerce thing and in order to make it work though, you can’t just go open a Shopify store, throw some stuff on there and think it’s going to work, it will not.

The whole thing relies on getting your branding and your culture and your artist identity, you got to figure that out first. If you don’t do that first, the whole thing comes crumbling down and there’s a lot also I want to talk about in this episode, things that matter that a lot of people don’t even take into consideration. 

I sure love this topic because it’s opened up entirely new fields for me, it’s opened up new doors, I have ton more new fans as a result of being able to market other products to people that fit my culture that didn’t know about my music. It’s been very cool.

18:33 CJ: Okay, now, you mentioned Shopify. Just in terms of platforms, some people may not be familiar with what some of these eCommerce platforms are.

18:41 Leah: Year, there’s a number of things out there. If you’re working with a WordPress website, some people are using something called WooCommerce which is a plugin, it’s like a store plugin. A lot of people are using band camp and you know, I started out on band camp as well and then you have people using Bandzoogle and there’s a bunch of other ones, there’s a whack of them. I do not recommend any of those other ones, especially, you know, I would love to be able to recommend Bandcamp but unfortunately, they’re stuck in the dinosaur age and won’t allow you to put a Facebook pixel on your site.

Which means, those of you who don’t know what it means, it just means you cannot track any customer behaviour at all and you cannot retarget them. Which is internet marketing, it’s a crime in internet marketing, 101. You have to have a Facebook pixel if you’re doing any kind of advertising, any kind of tracking at all.

They don’t allow that – I’ve made complaints about it, I’ve talked to people. Several of my students have talked to band camp and it sounds like it’s not even on their radar to add it and I’m thinking, you guys are all about trying to empower musicians so Bandcamp, if any of you from Bandcamp are listening to this, know that I would recommend you so much more than I do if you would allow that one thing, it’s not that hard to add, you should really add it.

Other things like Bandzoogle, I’m just, you know what? None of them are built specifically for sales conversions. Bandcamp’s got some other cool features like you can let people preview albums and give them special access. They got some cool features like that. But what I’m talking about specifically, e-commerce, getting the sale, there is no competition. It’s Shopify. 

Shopify is the eCommerce platform. No WooCommerce or BandZoogle can even compare. Shopify is built for sales, it’s formatted for sales, everything about it is designed for sales. Why would you even go anywhere else?

20:33 CJ: Right.

20:34 Leah: It’s a waste of time.

20:36 CJ: Yeah, I agree. It’s been that way for years and again, until you start thinking in terms of e-commerce, you’re not necessarily going to recognize the importance of something like a Shopify and the kind of features and plug-ins and what have you that you can use for everything from what you just mentioned. Retargeting to little bells and whistles that again, help make sales, create a kind of a bundle-like, add to order type things. To up your – you mentioned adding more products, increasing prices and all the sort of stuff is, you know, because you can get people to buy more than one item, you know? 

A lot of the money that gets made is not initially the little Facebook ad you put out there on the front end. Most of that money gets made more in the back end, with the retargeting, it gets made in the bundles, it’s getting made on that end of things and so you have to think in these terms. Let’s get back to basics though, Leah, about — you’ve mentioned culture fans, et cetera. That means the artist has to know their fans and has to know what their fan wants.

21:39 Leah: Yeah, even though I mentioned that I am targeting a lot of cold people, you know, I’m so in tune with my culture because I’ve studied my fans, they are my ideal customer, that you know, it’s a lot easier for me. Now, I can scan products and look at them and go yeah, I think that would go very well but a lot of e-commerce is also coming down to testing. The thing is if you can take out some of the risks from the beginning, you’re much smarter and wiser for doing so and one of the things that I am a huge advocate of and you probably hear me talk about it all the time, is serving my fans. I do use constantly and so I will do that with t-shirt designs. I will have a few different options. I will survey my fans. You need to consider them like a little beta group testers or you know when some big corporation is going to come out with a product and they put people in a little controlled group. 

And they’ll stand behind the glass and watch do the kids actually play with these toys or do they throw them on the floor and think its garbage, you know? Consider your fans that group of people, they are your little test group and they’re going to tell you honest feedback and you should always ask for honest feedback. “Don’t hold back guys, I want to know the truth.” Because you are saving so much time and money by getting those answers. 

And getting the general consensus on if they prefer something or not. So I did an extensive one one time where I ask them everything from design styles. So before I went to go actually get a design made, I compiled a bunch of different types of artwork. I think I just got pictures off of Pinterest or something and I just let them vote on the style, you know and I made sure they were different enough that they could really pick something and then I even put colour schemes in there. 

You can put fonts, you could survey them on everything that you can to understand your people a little bit more. And then from there, I was able to come up with a great design and lo and behold, when I put that t-shirt out it sold. So then it’s no surprise, right? You are digging into who they are and they’re just telling you. It is such a goldmine. I can’t even express. Why stress out about something when you can just ask and they’ll just tell you? So that is a big deal.

23:52 CJ: Yeah, if you can do what you just described and then drop the ball when it comes to executing your own design on something, right? So how important then does design become, once you settled in on a style. 

24:06 Leah: Yeah, so with e-commerce, everything about e-commerce is extremely visual from the design to people are analyzing the quality of something even from the image that you take. So the product photos matter as much as the design matters and the mock-up. So you know, people don’t want to see some crappy picture of the potential of what a mug could look like. I mean you want to either take a real photo of the mug or something or have a really good product mockup for example. 

And so just remember that people will judge a book by its cover. So the design of the t-shirts, whatever is going on your mug your t-shirt, your hat that is the thing that will determine if someone is going to buy it or not. More than anything else. More than where you have the buy button the page like those little things can add up. Those are little optimizations but ultimately is the design on the thing desirable because they can go buy a mug and they can buy a t-shirt at Walmart but the question is is what your offering exclusive and unique that is not sold in stores?

25:16 CJ: Right and so obviously this leads to the customer experience at the store at your online store and so the design, the visual is there. What about what you say? What about product descriptions? How much time do you put into something like that? 

25:33 Leah: Yeah, actually you know I think a lot of musicians get stuck on things like product descriptions. They think, “Well gosh, what is there to say about a t-shirt like really?” And I run into that too but you know this is the time to be creative. You’ve got to make it fun. You’ve got to make it engaging. I always come up with something – it can be even silly. It can be humorous. You can make outlandish claims about “When you drink from this mug you will turn into Superman.” 

Or whatever but just be light-hearted, be creative, this is the time to be creative. And there is a couple of websites I’d love to go to, to get inspiration and I share this with our Elite students as well when they get stuck and so if you are not a student, this is going to really inspire you. There is a store called thinkgeek.com and they just sell all kinds of geeky stuff from a Star Wars lamp and all kinds of stuff and they are selling all sorts of things we think what would there be to possibly write about this product. 

And they come up with the most creative descriptions that are sometimes several paragraphs long and it always impresses me and I am like, “Wow I got to up my game on my product descriptions.” Because they are so good. So that is going to draw people and it tells people that it matters. You put thought and care into this item. You are not just greedy to try to get something. That is how you sell people, it is by showing them how fun this product is and how they can’t get it anywhere else. 

There is a bunch more details I can give that are inside of our Elite Program that is not all free content here because it actually matters that people get it in a step by step format. But just to give you guys a tastes that these little details actually make a difference in the sale. 

27:14 CJ: Right, well the word optimize is something that they should get used to. Optimizing means all of these little details that go to work together in aggregate form to cause somebody to buy is not just the offer. It is the store experience, it is the buying experience. They could be a great product but if they can’t find a button or the description doesn’t give them enough information or the image just doesn’t look right or there is something wrong with it. 

These are the little things because people are short on time, they will bounce right out of your store and one of the – for anybody who’s gotten into this to see the numbers of how many abandoned carts you might have. Now granted there are several reasons that someone might have abandoned carts but oftentimes, they were frustrated or things weren’t clear, they had a doubt about something, something demanded their attention. They got tired of messing with trying to get through it and they just said, “I’ll come back to it later,” and they never do. 

28:13 Leah: Let me share a little something about that that I just experienced because a large amount of people, if you get a lot of traffic to your store and I get quite a bit to mine, there is going to be a large percentage of people that add things to their cart and then don’t buy it. So I have been working hard to try and increase that conversion rate. If you can just increase it by 1% that can add up to tens of thousands of dollars more per month or per year. 

And so I am working on figuring out is there any issue even the smallest little thing that can cause somebody to go, “Oh I am not going to continue with this transaction,” and there was a little thing I came across on my shop and this was this little glitch that the PayPal button, for example, was showing up on the cart page but it wasn’t showing up on the checkout page, where they actually go to do the transaction and I think a lot of people according to a couple of comments that I saw on my ads. 

Because you should always pay attention to this, people will really tell you anything going wrong. They will come back to your ad and actually write it there and they said I can’t find PayPal and I said, “It is in there.” And they said, “No it is not there.” So I go, “Okay let me check that out.” So I go there and sure enough, the PayPal was showing on the cart page like I said not on the checkout page and it is one little thing even though it is there. They are not expecting it to be there. 

They are expecting it to be in a different place during the checkout and so as soon as they saw that PayPal wasn’t available during the actual where you put in your payment information they’re abandoning cart and I thought, oh my goodness, it took me weeks to figure this out. I’m like I don’t understand it is there and what it was is that it was not in the place they expect it. So I have been working with developers to try and get that button over to the place where they expect to see it. 

So this is why I say so much of it is human psychology. You got to start being fascinated and interested in people’s behaviours and what causes them to do things and why they don’t do other things. So start being really fascinated by that and you’ll make a lot more sales. It took me weeks to figure out, “Oh it is over here but they are expecting it to be there” and nobody ever told me that. I just put two and two together and I’m like, “Okay, let’s see if we can get that PayPal button on the other place. 

And then I bet you we’re going to see a huge increase, in conversion. So there’s an example of me going through the process. 

30:26 CJ: It’s those little things man. You know, you wouldn’t think of it. You wouldn’t think that would such a big deal. “Oh, people will find it,” don’t assume that people would do anything. Don’t even assume that they’ll do, they will stop buying or they will abandon the cart. That you can safely assume. We wanted to talk about checkout experience, the payment processors aspect and I think that touches on that but it is important that you know, we consider that customer experience. 

But that is all the more reason to use something like a Shopify. Which takes us into the themes and that sort of thing. In other words, some of the basic themes will have all of these things, for the most part, built-in and they have done a lot of the groundwork for you. You don’t have to think through a lot of those things. It’s again the premier e-commerce site in the world. I mean everybody uses Shopify. 

31:23 Leah: Huge brands are on Shopify and this is another reason why I wanted to discourage anyway from using Bandzoogle, Bandcamp, any of these other things is because actually, so many people have done shopping on Shopify without realizing it because you don’t see Shopify anywhere, you are just there shopping. And the checkout and cart experience is very familiar to people. People are more likely to buy something when the process is familiar. 

People don’t like going through a website where the buttons are in a weird location, the fonts are weird. There’s a black background and everything starts to seem sketchy and spammy and scammy to them. So the more familiar of an experience that you can create, the more likely you are going to make the sale and that’s why I love Shopify so much. That is one of the big reasons. Is that whole check out experience. The payment processes are standard, people know how it works. 

And then going into the whole theme like you just said, Shopify has a bunch of free themes. They have premium themes. I use a premium theme, all that information is on our Elite Course on what I use and why and why not using a free theme. They are fine though and there is a lot of people making money with free themes, you can but they are designed for sales. The way the format is, the layout, all of these things actually matter folks. 

It has to do with psychology. Again sales psychology, people’s behaviours and you know once upon a time you used to want everything above the fold and that just means that everything important would be above the line on their laptop or mobile device or desktop before they start scrolling and to a degree some of those things matter. But now we are in a scrolling culture and people are used to scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll. 

So for example, I can have a whole lot of stuff on my home page. And all the important stuff it is okay for me to have a really long home page because people are used to scrolling and that is completely acceptable and I make a lot of sales based on my home page. 

So that is just an example of why this platform matters and you have too many limitations on these other platforms like Bandcamp and Bandzoogle, way too many limitations. So I mean my rule is take the advice from people who are actually doing what you want to do. As opposed to your other broke musician friends, are you going to take their advice? Go ahead but I am making this simple for you. So don’t send emails telling me why you love Bandzoogle so much. 

I am telling you, when I started using Shopify, my income increased, not just because of the platform but because of all these other things we talked about so far. 

33:56 CJ: Wow, if you can’t tell Leah is very passionate about this aspect of the business because she could go on literally all day about because she hasn’t even gotten into the details of these things just the type of apps that brought in – 

34:10 Leah: This is a high level. 

34:11 CJ: Yeah it is a whole ‘nother thing, so let’s talk about just briefly probably the most important point because I got somebody who asked me the other day about one of my products and they were assuming that I was the one fulfilling orders. They were assuming I was the one who had a bunch of inventory and so then I have this particular size and whatever. So the point was is that he wanted a much larger shirt, which was not available in the particular shirt style that I was using on a particular tank top, what have you. 

So I have to tell him, I said, “Well no, I don’t handle this aspect of it. I have vendors who are handling this.” So this takes us to the subject of, well Leah, do you have a garage full of all of these different sizes of t-shirts that you’re selling? You happen to put these things in bags and ship them out the door. I get it that you have this great Shopify store but how in the world are you getting these shirts done? How is this money tied up in inventory? What about sizes? How do you know to get the right sizes? 

35:07 Leah: Well man, this is the beauty of Shopify and this will change your life, this will change your world when you get into this but there’s this amazing thing called print on demand and print on demand has been around but what you can do with it through Shopify and the different print on demand apps they have and the different vendors, so when I say apps they’re just vendors using an app to help you. You can create products, design the products. 

Upload those products to your shop and then fulfill them and they actually will drop ship those products for you and deliver them right to your customer and what’s incredible about print on demand why this is the model I recommend to all of our students and we have in-depth training on this, is there is such little risk involved. When I started doing this we literally did print 100 extra larges, 100 larges, 100 mediums and we had to hope that we could sell them. 

We had to hope that and they really were sitting in my garage and we really were mailing them physically ourselves and then just wow, my world just opened up when I learned about this. So these print on demand comes. There is a whole whack of them and we have specific recommendations for our students on the ones that we trust but it is a game-changer because you don’t have any inventory, you don’t personally ship it, you don’t have to worry about any of that. 

But you actually don’t even pay for the product until you have been first been paid, which is like, “What?” So the way it works is someone buys it, that money gets deposited into your account and then the app charges you for that product. So the money is there before you even have to worry about paying for it and then they fulfill the order and they will have the different processing times and then they ship it for you. You don’t even have to touch it and it is all automated. 

36:59 CJ: Yeah and they put your logo on it even. 

37:02 Leah: Absolutely, your logo, your design and it is all the best stuff like it’s all the same brands that you would go and get printed anywhere. It’s all the same, the same thing as you go to any bands merch booth, same brands. So the only tradeoff is that they have to make a bit of a markup as well. So they are getting it at a super-duper wholesale price. It is distributer price. They are marketing it up to a wholesale price for you and then you charge retail. 

So the only downside to this is that your margins are a little bit smaller than they would be if you went and printed them all yourself upfront. So usually if you did a huge batch of a thousand t-shirts you’d get a better price than when you are selling them one-off but really, I will take that any day especially when you don’t even know how much you can sell. You don’t have to have the merchandise. The inventory is sitting in your garage. You don’t have to ship it. You don’t have to touch it. You don’t do anything that is well worth it, the whole hassle. 

37:57 CJ: Oh yeah, plus you can do, you can throw products up quickly and you can add stuff. You can say, “Okay, you know what? I am going to put this design not just on a t-shirt. I am going to put it on a coffee mug, I am going to put it on a hat, I am going to put it on a dog bowl, I am going to put it on a shower curtain, I am going to put it on an apron, I am going to put it on a piece of canvass they can hang on the wall. I am going to put it in front of a journal that they can write in.” 

There are so many different products that you can put your artwork on and I mean within minutes, guys, literally within minutes and you don’t have to do a thing plus if you were to do like you just described Leah, yeah you get a cheaper unit cost. If you bought a thousand shirts but how many of those are you going to be sitting on two years from now because you just bought too many mediums? You got too many extra larges. 

38:44 Leah: And you find out that most of your fans are a XXL. It has happened to me. I actually had people requesting like four and five XL, like I do not have that in stock. So with this print on demands, a lot of them have all of those huge ranges of sizes and colours and the options are amazing. They are adding new things all the time and the other day I have seen then just adding all kinds of things like coffee coasters, cutting boards, like things you’re just like wow this is really cool. 

So that’s the model that we teach because most people don’t have the capital to go and invest in a whole bunch of merchandise they don’t know that they can sell. So you know I am not even going to talk about other kinds of drop shipping. It is not necessary this is what you need and so this is the model that we teach in the Super Fan System Elite because it is so effective and there’s no risk for you to do it. Absolutely no risk. So that is – yeah. There is a lot we can say on this but this is pretty thorough already. 

39:41 CJ: Yeah, I love to be able to offer as many things as I do from the items we just mentioned and hats and mugs and shirts and phone cases and you name it. You know offering all of these different things and I didn’t have to spend any money to buy them and have them on stock. Because if it was things I had to buy and have in stock then I’d probably only have t-shirts. I would be offering embroidered hats for goodness sake. 

I wouldn’t be offering a shower curtain or a cutting board or what have you or I’ve got all the phone cases and that kind of stuff or several different coffee mugs, I wouldn’t be offering that and the great thing about it is there are little apps where you can do items bought together and so if let’s say like I have a shirt that says “Eat, Drink and Be Metal,” in my store. So I can show down below the mug that says “Eat, Drink and Be Metal,” and the women’s shirt. 

So, in other words, you can get not just the shirts and say, “Oh wow, he’s got it also on a mug,” so I can get the mug and the shirt and save money and et cetera. So you can do as Leah said at the outset about adding more product and doing these things creates a bundle like effect that get people to go up. They came for a shirt but they ended up getting two or three things on the way out so. 

40:56 Leah: Right and there are so many things that you cannot do on Bandcamp and Bandzoogle like up sales and down sales. That is just helping little order bumps, things that are going to increase the average order value, which just means like how much the average person is buying, right? So like CJ said, showing them other related products, bundling products things that they can buy on their way out to checkout, right? 

All of those things matter greatly in an e-commerce setting. And I don’t really know of anybody else teaching this stuff, in-depth, I really don’t and I will tell you, I have taken a lot of different e-commerce courses out there and then they are always translating it into the music business. It is this always a very awkward thing. So that’s why I am here. I am here to bridge that gap between what works in business and what works in music because I am doing it. 

41:43 CJ: Well there you go and like I said, we go real deep into this subject but the best way to really become a master at this is to become a part of Leah’s Elite Program, the Super Fan System Elite Program and if you’d like to learn more about that, we would love to talk to you and tell you more about that. So book a call today, here is how you can do that, go to callsma.com. Book a call, talk to one of our staff members. They will go in deep with you. Take as much time as needed. 

To help to see if this is a great fit for you. If this could launch something new in your life that could spell you finally getting on track, putting an end to confusion, getting out of your rut, getting unstuck, getting that dream again, dust it off, polished and really getting you down the road to what you thought was gone. What you thought it was too late for what you thought maybe, you know you are just not cut out for, suddenly possibility is going to come back into the fore. 

So do that today, callsma.com and again, if you’d like to please go and leave a review for this podcast. Go to your favourite media player, give us some stars and a great review. It helps us to rise in the rankings. It helps other wonderful people like yourself find out more about Savvy Musician Academy. Leah, always a pleasure. 

43:07 Leah: Oh it was a pleasure to do this episode. I hope you all enjoyed it. 

43:10 CJ: Talk to you guys soon. 

43:12 Leah: Bye. 

Episode #059: Why Physical Music Isn’t Dead & How To Sell More Of It

On the Savvy Musician Show today, Leah and CJ are exploring the world of physical sales and how it is still alive in 2019! Not so long ago it seemed like the formats of CDs, tapes, and vinyl was a thing of the past. But thanks to a resurgence of younger audiophiles and music fans, sales of physical music have actually risen in the last decade. From the almost completely vinyl music stand in Barnes & Noble to new independent record stores and beyond, physical music is not dead and can make up a huge part of your earnings as an independent music business. Leah and CJ unpack just how this could work for you, focusing on touring versus online, how to find and target the right audience for physical products, merch versus music and more! We talk about the vital importance of the visual side of this work, artwork, and coherence can play a huge role in your success. Leah also stresses the value of product photography and testing out markets, so make sure to tune in for this great conversation!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Today’s student spotlight; a special message from Jason! 
  • Barnes & Noble’s music section and the current focus they put on vinyl. 
  • Leah’s attitude towards physical merch from the standpoint of a non-touring artist. 
  • Reasons that Leah’s fans buy her merch; unique, exclusive and part of something bigger. 
  • The shift back to deep appreciation for the quality of audio and music.
  • Determining and targeting people who love vinyl or other physical formats. 
  • The importance of artwork and the visual language and style you use.  
  • Product photography and making the most of displaying your physical products. 
  • Validation and product testing with the minimum risk necessary.
  • Some information on the new Inner Circle monthly membership. 
  • And much more! 


“To do a limited edition of something that would be so fun, because I grew up with cassettes and I always wanted to have my own tape.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:02:46]

“Nothing is as inspiring, or reinforcing as results. It doesn’t matter what they are, long as you see some light, little glimmer of hope that you’re on the right path.” — @metalmotivation [0:03:32]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Savvy Musician Academy — https://savvymusicianacademy.com/elite/call/

Savvy Musician Mastermind on Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/groups/savvymusician/

Savvy Musician Spotify course — www.savvymusicianacademy.com/Spotify

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

Audible — https://www.audible.com

Stripe — https://stripe.com/

Jason Allender (Student Spotlight) — https://www.facebook.com/JasonJamesWren/ 

Click For Full Transcript

00:23 CJ: Well, welcome once again to The Savvy Musician Show, the podcast for music marketing. This is CJ Ortiz. I am the mindset branding coach here at The Savvy Musician Academy. Of course, I’m the lucky one who gets to sit across from the queen of the realm, her eminence herself, the lovely Leah McHenry. How are you doing, Leah?

00:44 Leah: I am wonderful. Thank you. That just cracks me up every time.

00:49 CJ: I am the king of introductions. I love doing that. Always go where you’re celebrated, never where you’re tolerated, right? Again, always a pleasure to be with each and every one of you on the podcast. I know folks are gleaning so much, Leah. The reports and reviews that we get sent to us every week are just amazing. So thankful for each and every person out there that takes the time to do that.

We want to ask you to take the time to do that by going to your favourite player, if you listen on Spotify, or iTunes, or Stitcher, and leave us a review and leave us some stars. Again, helps with our rankings and helps other people like yourself to discover this important podcast, because we do really want people to hear it. 

We want to help them and we want to bring them even closer to us, in some of Leah’s courses and the Elite Program, so that we can bring about significant changes in the music industry, and no, it’s not all come down to us and what we’re doing here, but we’re certainly going to be faithful to do our part.

Yes, to be ambitious and vision-filled and faith-filled enough to say that a difference can be made, because if anything, Leah, right? It’s mostly when it comes to the contemporary state of the music industry, it’s naysaying, right?

02:10 Leah: Yeah, that’s the truth.

02:11 CJ: A lot of negativity, so we want to change that aspect of it. Today, we’re going to talk about something really, really important here on Episode 59. That is the fact that physical music is not dead.

02:25 Leah: Hallelujah.

02:26 CJ: Yeah, hallelujah. For anybody who follows Leah musically, you know she is all about physical products. She’s got vinyl, she’s got CDs, and I’ve heard her talk about even dabbling into cassettes.

02:41 Leah: Yeah, I’ve always wanted to do that. I haven’t yet, but to do a limited edition of something that would be so fun, because I grew up with cassettes and I always wanted to have my own tape.

02:54 CJ: We’re going to talk about, because some people might say physical music is not dead. First, I’d like to begin with a student spotlight. Today’s win is from Jason Allender. He writes, “I started messaging people on Monday on my lunch break. In three days of messaging, only as many as I could during my breaks, I’ve gotten on two playlists. 

I’ve even made contact with an artist to help with illustrations for one of my projects. Got to get in touch with another musician and find some new music I like as bonuses too. This is getting to be a lot of fun and a definite boost to a really rough week.” 

Results, man. I tell people this all the time, Leah. Nothing is as inspiring or reinforcing as results. It doesn’t matter what they are, long as you see some light, little glimmer of hope that you’re on the right path and there is – you are making a difference in your music business.

03:49 Leah: That’s right. Yeah, that’s awesome.

03:51 CJ: Good for you, Jason. Again, Jason one of our Elite Group members or see – I guess, from the Spotify for musicians course that you offer. Yeah, so that’s a big one. Spotify. If you go to SMA to check that out. 

Again, physical music is not dead. I had an interesting encounter, Leah. I don’t get out much to things, like shopping malls and what-have-you. I became an e-commerce shopper a long time ago. I don’t go to stores, especially to a shopping mall. The shopping mall in my area, I probably have not been to in over 10 years and I’m not joking.

Now I lived elsewhere for a number of years and came back to where I am now, but I have not been to the mall, the closest one to my house, which is about 20 minutes away in probably 10 years. They’ve got nice restaurants there and all the big anchor stores. I took my daughter out to eat and we were going to go to a bookstore and they have a really big Barnes & Noble there, and so we said, “All right, well let’s just go there.” This is on a Friday night, 7:30. I’m thinking, “All right, well let’s get down there before everybody and their grandmother is out there.” Friday night, it’s going to be packed with kids and all of that stuff, teenagers, you know how it goes.

It was a ghost town. It was a literal ghost town. Some of the restaurants were all boarded up. I took a picture from inside the Barnes & Nobles on the very end, so you could see a long corridor of one of the malls, on the upper deck, there wasn’t a single person. Not a single person. The shot was just empty, like it was an empty mall. I mean, there’s other alleyways you could go down, but I mean, from that one shot on a Friday night, because there was little Cinnabons and Chick-fil-A’s and there was nobody there. 

I’m having this surreal moment and so we walk into the Barnes & Noble and I’m just thinking, “Wow, this is really weird. Where is everybody? It’s like a ghost town.” We walked in and I remembered how in a Barnes & Noble, they always had a music section, right? Or video section. I thought, “Well, let me see.” I turned to my left where it normally is and it was still there. I said, “Oh, cool.” I walked over to it and I look inside and, Leah, all I can see in the entire section is vinyl. All I can see is vinyl.

I was talking my daughter about it and I said, “Where’s all the CDs? Where’s everything else?” I had to walk down around the corner and there was a one little back-aisle they had in the very back and that’s where they had the CDs. Everything out front, everything that they were featuring in the music section at Barnes & Noble was vinyl. Look at the just the very strange juxtaposition to be in to be saying, “Okay, here’s the mall. The mall for years has been the epicentre of where people hang out. The mall is virtually empty.” I’m in a Barnes & Noble and I look in their music section and it’s all vinyl. It’s like, what a strange time that we live in.

If you would think that if, “Okay, nobody’s shopping anymore. Everybody’s doing everything online, then they would have gotten rid of a music section because everybody’s listening to it on streaming.” No. They had the music section there and they were selling vinyl records. That spoke to me so loudly about this aspect of physical merchandise, because apparently, Leah, Barnes & Noble has an entire music section dedicated to vinyl, then physical music is not dead, is it?

07:33 Leah: It’s certainly not. I mean, I would say the way we consume it, the way we’re purchasing it, that has certainly changed, but it is not going away. I don’t think it’ll ever go away. We can talk about some of that in the way things are changing, but I can tell you right now as a six-figure recording artist, a large portion of my income is coming from physical sales.

07:58 CJ: That’s pretty amazing. I think, again when people scratch their head about you, it’s like they think you’re some anomaly. Not to say that you’re not unique and you don’t have your unicorn overtones, but they think there’s just no way, right? 

“How is she making money, because everything is being streamed?” Et cetera, et cetera. Why do you think in your case, let’s just start with your case, why in your case would physical music be something that would make up such a significant portion of your income?

08:35 Leah: Well, there’s a variety of things and I think actually in my situation, it’s harder to sell physical music than for other artists who tour. When you’re a touring band and you do live shows, buying physical merch, it’s just part of the experience, so people want to remember the experience they had with that t-shirt and that is usually overpriced and the overpriced everything. Whenever I go to merch tables I’m like, “What? Get out of town. If I charge that on my shop, people would freak out.” They charge it in person and I understand why and that’s where a lot of their income is coming from. A lot of them aren’t making a lot of money on the tickets. They’re making it at the merch table.

For people, why they buy it is to remember the awesome experience they just had. I mean, some people buy the merch before the concert, but a lot of times you’ll see them go out and buy it during the intermission, or between bands. They are wanting to — It’s just memorabilia.

Now in my case, I’m only selling it online. I don’t do live shows. I never have toured and I won’t for a little while. I have to come with a completely different reason. I can give people completely different reason to buy my stuff. It’s actually harder for me but I’m doing it. I have had to ask myself, why do people buy anything? What is the point? Why would somebody buy my $20, $25 shirt, instead of going down to Target and getting the same shirt for 5 bucks? What is the difference? Then you have to look at buyer intent and a whole lot of things.

The answer for me is they want to buy it from me, because with my logo and my brand and everything, is because I’ve put in the work to create that culture around my music. For them, this is part of the lifestyle. It’s more than just the music. There are people even who buy my t-shirts and stuff who are not even familiar with my music, because I made sure the design was cool enough that anybody would like it. Most of the time, the shirts specifically, apparel specifically, is coming from my fans, because some of them have the Leah logo on it, and so it makes more sense that they’re going to buy it.

They are buying, because they want to support me as an artist. That’s one. Also, the design is cool and they can’t find those sort of things in stores. They can’t get it on Amazon. They can’t find it other places. It’s unique, not sold in stores. It’s part of a bigger lifestyle like I just said. When I started treating my music as more than just music and more as a lifestyle brand, things really started taking off for me. I have been teaching that ever since, that you need to look at your music career as bigger than your music. Sometimes depending on what music you make, there’s maybe more of a movement there. Sometimes it’s just silly.

My fans are primarily nerds. A lot of them are total geeks. I’ve had actually the gamut of people email me, I’ve had judges sit in court email me, like, “I’m a fan of your music. I own all your CDs,” to lawyers and doctors, to complete D&D nerds sitting in their dungeon.

11:54 CJ: Who like to collect things.

11:55 Leah: Like to collect things. You never know. I mean, people surprise you. Ultimately, they love where the music takes them. They love the culture. They love that. That’s enough reason to buy it and it’s exclusive. They can’t find this anywhere else. That’s the whole point. 

There’s a lot in the psychology part of this. I teach a lot of that in our Elite Course when we could talk about merchandise and how to source it, when you do a lot – I’m a huge fan of print-on-demand for a lot of reasons, and more speaking, not so much a physical music part of it, but physical items, physical merchandise part of it. 

There are print-on-demand music services as well. You can do vinyl print-on-demand. I know there are a few companies. I’m not super familiar with those, so don’t email me and ask.

12:43 CJ: Well, let me ask you this because I’m going back thinking of when your first album came out in 2012, right?

12:50 Leah: Yes.

12:51 CJ: Okay. Now I remember you sending it to me and it was a CD that you sent. How long was it before you introduced vinyl?

13:00 Leah: It was a little while. I was selling CDs and t-shirts first. That was back when I was on Bandcamp. If any of you guys know, I wish Bandcamp would come into the 21st century. They just won’t, so I can’t recommend it anymore for anybody. That’s where I got my start. I was just selling CDs and t-shirts, until I could sell enough to put in another order and reinvest into my next run of albums and just kept doing that over and over. 

I didn’t spend all the money. I just reinvested it. Vinyl didn’t come out till I want to say – I think I did an issue of it not till I came out with Kings and Queens and then I think I did vinyl for all three of my – I did two albums in an EP. I guess it’s only been since 2015, maybe? I’m guessing.

13:47 CJ: What was it that prompted that? Were you getting requests from people saying, “Hey, this would be great.”

13:52 Leah: Yes.

13:53 CJ: Really?

13:54 Leah: Yes, that’s what happened. I wouldn’t have even thought of vinyl, because I’m not a big vinyl person. Yeah, just due to popular demand, people just were wanting, “Do you have vinyl? Do you have vinyl?” I would get all these emails, or on Facebook and various places. Vinyl was like, “Uh, I guess we should do a vinyl run.” I’ve sold out of them and had to do reruns of them. It is really interesting. I’ve even thought about, “Hmm. I wonder if I can even sell vinyl players?” If you learn how to source products, you can. It’s really becoming huge and people are starting to get back into it.

It is a small segment of people, but it’s a very passionate segment of people, and it’s a growing segment of people who are becoming audiophiles again. They’re becoming really music connoisseurs. They want to take the time to actually sit and listen to music and experience music again. This is good news. This is very good news. Yes, streaming is on the rise. Streaming is currently the number one source of music revenue at the moment. I think things are only going to improve in that respect as time goes on.

There’s been some laws passed to make compensation better for musicians, where it wasn’t really in our favour up until now. I think even President Trump signed something about that, that was in the favour of musicians, so even if you hate him, you can’t hate him that much for that. There are positive steps towards even that streaming thing.

Here’s the deal and I want people to consider about physical music. I want you to look at your own behaviour of how you consume digital and physical products. Me personally, if someone were to ask how I consume books, I will tell them I consume books in multiple formats. I will often buy the physical copy and the Audible version and the eBook version. Because I like to collect books, I like to read the physical format, so I can highlight it, write in the margins, do all of that. 

Sometimes if I’m in the car, I also want to consume the content. Sometimes it’s not always convenient for me to have it in this format or that format. I like to have it in multiple formats, and that’s what we’re seeing right now in regards to the way people consume music is they like multiple formats.

Yes, streaming is convenient, it’s on the rise. A lot of people want the physical format. They want to collect it. It also says something about who they are. It represents their worldview and how they like to see themselves. Just like I collect books, I like to put them on the shelf. It says something about who I am. It’s been said, if you want to learn about somebody, just go and look at their library. 

Go and take a look at what’s on their shelf. That will tell you a lot about who they are. I think people are like that about music. You can take a look at their music collection and go, “Wow, you have a variety of tastes and genres in here. I can tell you really appreciate – you use different things.” I think that’s the important thing to think about is physical isn’t going to go away, because people still want to consume it into that format.

16:43 CJ: Yeah. We are at a very strange point in history and even my little story at the outset typifies that, where it’s again, a juxtaposition where a shopping mall is tanking, but vinyl is for sale. Just doesn’t seem that would be the case. There is almost a resistance, if you will, a backlash to the advance of technology and social media and all of these things to where people are almost in rebellion against it, where they’re going back and wanting things to be physical, whether it’s a book or drive-in theatres, those are opening up again. People are going to the drive-in.

Now kids who would have never experienced such a thing, are going out to experience and even – it’s interesting that even a lot of those who are getting into the vinyl records are younger people. We know when I was in the Blockbuster – I’m not Blockbuster. There it goes. Was Blockbuster going to come back? The Barnes & Noble music section, a lot of the vinyl that was for sale was stuff that I grew up with. Rolling Stones.

17:54 Leah: Beatles.

17:55 CJ: Yeah, The Beatles and what have you. There was all kinds of classic stuff. Again, these are connoisseurs who were buying these things, because it takes effort. It takes effort to buy a turntable. It takes effort to take care of records, have a place for them. You know how people handle their albums and they’re wiping them down. They’re taking better care of them now than we did when we were young. We just threw them around, because that was just something that you had.

There really is now, there’s a psyche, a psychology almost, in the marketplace that’s developing that is appreciating this physical aspect of things. There is the collector concept. There is the, I want to touch it and own it. I want to be able to see it. I want to look at something. Again, like you said, audiophiles they’re seriously sitting down like we used to do back in the day, to listen to music. 

These are little escapes. These are meditative times. It’s a great thing. Somebody can literally feature that as a part of their budget. Were you surprised at how well your initial vinyl sales were? Did that take you back?

19:01 Leah: Yeah. When I do advertising and stuff, it all comes down to targeting people who are fans of vinyl. I can actually do that on Facebook. There are segments and pockets of people who are vinyl collectors and they’ll collect all kinds of stuff, even other genres they don’t normally listen to because it’s unique. What I do is unique and there’s a couple things to think about there, is you always want your music to stand out and to have something unique, so that people want to collect it.

Then also, just the power of being able to target and I can write an ad and target people who are fans of vinyl, specific vinyl shops, vinyl lovers. I’ve made a lot of cold sales even that way. They don’t even know what my music is, but they want to collect it. That’s interesting. Yeah, that always takes me by surprise, just because I’m not really into it. I have one now, because I’m like, “Why vinyl? I should probably have a vinyl player.” It got me into it.

I’ve actually ordered some people’s vinyl albums now as well and it’s really fun. Physical music is certainly not dead and it’s not going to be dead. I don’t know if ever. I think, as long as we’re physical in our bodies, still wearing physical clothes and eating physical food, I think there’s always been a place for that for physical books, physical music. That just doesn’t worry me.

The stats might change a little bit on what people consuming — that’ll change over the years, but it’s never going to go away. To this day, my bestseller on my shop is a bundle of my CDs. That’s the bestseller. Out of all the different products I have there and I have lots of different stuff, that’s the best one. That’s the one that makes a lot of my money.

20:36 CJ: Yeah. I mean, we’ve been talking about vinyl here for so much, you forget that physical CDs are physical products. Yes, people still do buy CDs. It’s funny, because people may again as I said earlier, be scratching their head trying to figure out, “Well, how in the world does anybody make money because everything is streaming music now? 

Well, how would Leah going to be able to sell anything?” She just told you, she’s doing some specific targeting. You can actually target people and determine people who would buy these sorts of things. Once you get into an ad manager and you’re able to put in things in relation to your genre, your particular culture and then something in relation to people who would buy this sort of stuff? Yeah, you can start to get out there and do that.

I’ve always appreciated, Leah, the investment that you’ve made in making sure your artwork, for example. I think that plays a part in it. I think, people they look at and they see that and like, “I got to have that,” because they look like they belong in a set.

21:36 Leah: Right. Yeah. Yeah, and I’ve used the same artist up until now as well, so there’s a bit of coherency between them. I think that’s a big deal, you guys. Your artwork needs to be really stunning. It doesn’t need to look like mine. You can have a completely different genre, but your artwork really says so much. People do judge a book by its cover. If you can somehow make all of your albums look cohesive. I actually did a little rebrand. I released my first album in 2012 and I have these other albums now.

The first album cover that I ever did was from a different artist. He did a great job, but then when I went with this new artist who did the last three, we did a reissuing of my first album and it was a good opportunity to just tweak the album cover. Now they all look like a set and they all look like they go together and that’s why I think why they sell so well is because they’re bundled. They just look like it’s a book series. If you buy a series of novels, they all have a different storyline, but they look like they go together. A lot of times, each book is a different colour, but there’s a coherency between them all. It’s a set. You want them all. I think you need to really take that into consideration with your designs.

In fact, in any physical product, I don’t care if it’s a t-shirt, or a mug, or an album, vinyl, a hat. Design is everything. Design is everything. That is the one thing that people are going to determine if they’re going to buy it or not, is do I like the design? When you’re doing your physical music, make sure you have a graphic artist who really gets it. It should have some wow factor. It should. 

You don’t have to be in Celtic metal. You can be in folk, or whatever you’re doing. When you see that, you should be, “Wow.” That should be your first reaction. If you don’t have that reaction, it probably needs some work. Same thing with your t-shirt design, same with — it should be like, “Wow, that’s cool.” It should have that effect on you. If not, then don’t expect anybody else to get excited about it, never mind, buy it.

23:36 CJ: Right. I can imagine that you probably extend all your fans to send you photos of the stuff that they’ve gotten from you. I’m sure, some of them are probably using your stuff, CD or vinyl as decorative elements on their shelves and things. In other words, your album is not something they just put in the stack, so to speak. 

They may actually put it on display because again, some of them are those Dungeons and Dragons and Game of Thrones types, and so they probably got other stuff, swords and crystal balls and all this other cool stuff, little statues and things from films or whatever. Why not put Leah’s records right up there, because it just – it literally fits in with the culture.

It’s not as simple as just saying, “Well, yeah. People are still buying vinyl.” You still want to be doing things as an artist to make your items appeal, have that appeal for them to want to buy it and see them as again as a package, something that they would want to get to think in terms of bundles, think as a business person when it comes to your music. We can get so trapped in the art side of it, the creative side that we’re just musicians and we’re not going to dirty our hands in this end of things.

But hey, I know that used to be what record labels used to do. If you’re going to take over all this on your own, then you have to think, you are your own record label. You are the one who has to make these decisions. I would not scrimp on that. Now being a designer initially by trade, I can tell you that to get great artwork will cost you more, but it’s nothing like it used to be. Nothing like it used to be.

25:19 Leah: Well, just think of how much it’s going to make you, right? Whenever I come across costs and expenses and it seems like a lot upfront. You can’t just think about that. You have to think, “Oh, yeah. It’s going to cost me this upfront,” and that’s what crowdfunding is for and all that thing. How much is it going to make me after that? 

That’s the mentality you need to have and something that you can sell over and over and over and over for years to come. That small price is worth it. Get over it.

25:50 CJ: Yeah, exactly. Even when it comes down to the simple things of presenting it to your customers. You’ve done a great job of just taking your photos. People may think that you’ve had professional photos taken of your music, but not at all. These are things you handled yourself, right?

26:09 Leah: Yeah. Actually, the guy who does my artwork, he just has the same thing that I have here. He’s taking a couple of photos of me, but it’s just a simple little $25 lightbox from Amazon, which is a little white cube that you set up and it collapses flat into whatever. You set it up. It’s got a white background in a white box and sometimes it even comes with a little stand for your phone. You just set up your CD in there and take some photos on your phone, because every iPhone right now is a fantastic camera. That’s all you need.

I will say, product photography matters a lot when it comes to e-commerce. We go deep into this stuff in our Elite Course and in our Facebook group there, where I give a lot of details on this. Product photography matters. When you’re running Facebook ads and stuff, you have to give Facebook a lot of new creative as well. You can’t just take one photo and then that’s the one you use forever.

The worst thing I’ve seen that people do is use the cover itself, which didn’t really look like — you couldn’t tell it was an album cover. It just looked like maybe a poster, or I don’t know what. They use that as their image to sell it. I’ll just tell you, that’s why you won’t be making sales if you do that. You got to show the physical product. 

Meaning, don’t just use the cover, show that it’s a CD. Open up the jewel-case, or have it standing there with where you can see the CD sitting there. Show that’s a physical product, where they can see the cover, they can see the CD, they can see the artwork. You have to have a bunch of those photos, so you have white background photos. Then you can have real-life photos, where maybe you’re putting the album outside in nature somewhere and you take those photos.

Sometimes they can start to look like not so professional. Get down on the ground and take it at eye-level. Don’t shoot down looking at it. That’s not usually going to look very nice. Then there’s user-generated photos, where there’s other people holding your vinyl or CD and they’re fans with the photos. Those are also very powerful for social proof. I just gave you guys three different kinds of photos you should be using, whenever you’re trying to sell this thing. This just comes down to understanding e-commerce and the way it works. Again, I can’t get into all the details here, but that’s in our Elite Course.

28:39 CJ: Yeah. Again guys, what’s important is that your disbelief and your skepticism is banished from your mind, that these things are possible. Again, the ruling attitude of the day is naysaying when it comes to the music industry, Leah. 

People just don’t believe that such things are possible and therefore, someone like a Leah must be some anomaly. Instead of saying, “No, maybe there’s principles that I don’t know yet, things that I haven’t learned yet that may be the reason why a homeschooling mother of five who doesn’t tour is actually earning six figures a year on her music.”

She’s not getting that money primarily from streaming. No, she’s doing it from physical products. She did mention earlier the merchandise. We’re going to talk about merchandise in another episode, but how much the physical aspect of the music plays such a role in her income. I would imagine, Leah, you would have started a whole lot earlier with this if you had known about it. Now moving forward, if somebody is just getting out of the gates, I mean, would you be so bold as to tell them, “Yeah, be willing to include vinyl and CDs and all that on your very first record?”

30:05 Leah: Yeah. What I would say too is there is an element of validation, where you want to validate that the music is good and there are a market and people like it. Here’s what I did at the beginning like I said, I started out on Bandcamp. That was the best place to host it at the time. What I did before I could afford to print CDs and I didn’t know if anybody would even like my music. I didn’t know if anyone would care. Is I sold digital versions of it, digital copies, downloads, and I raised the money to print the albums.

What that did was it validated the music. It told me that there was a market of people. My risk was greatly reduced because I knew that people liked the music enough that they would even download the digital format. That helped me. Then I had requests of people asking for the physical format, so that helped a lot.

If you’re starting at ground zero and you can’t even afford to do a run yet, just out of the gate, validate it by selling it digitally. This is where I would say, this is why you don’t want to only have singles. We’re not in a single generation. Only in certain genres does that seem to be the case. Even then, all of those artists, all the rappers, all the pop stars, they still release full-blown albums. They still release 15-song albums. Albums sell much better.

You’re not going to raise enough money off of singles. You need to release a full-length album, 10, 8 or more songs, whatever that’s considered. Then raise the money, save it, stop spending it. Create a separate bank account, where every time someone downloads the money and you get it through Stripe or however, whatever payment processor, that money goes into that account and save it up. 

Don’t spend it. Don’t touch it. Pretend it’s not there. Then do your first run. If you can do it in bulk, you’ll get much better prices. That’s what you want to do. Then you have them and then you can sell them and they’ll become an evergreen asset, a physical asset that you can sell over and over and over again.

31:57 CJ: Well there you go. I mean, it’s like you said, prove it first, validate it. I think it’s a great way to do it. I love that, Leah. You’re always out to minimize the risk, all the while taking a big risk, putting yourself out there on your own. Remember ladies and gentlemen, that we’re looking for super fans. We’re not talking about you printing a million vinyl records and hoping that you become a household name. No, we’re talking about a small number of people that are just super fans in regards to your music and you as a messenger.

I’ve said this to a lot of the people that I’ve coached with from the Elite Program, Leah. I’ll often tell them, I said, “When it comes to social media, you have to be the musician and the messenger. You have to not only be the one producing the music, but you’re interacting with a specific group of people who share the love for that particular music, that particular culture, and so you become a leader, an influencer in and of yourself.” Know, like and trust, right? We like to say in marketing. 

This is what’s going to help people fall in love with you as the musician and as a spokesperson for that culture. Because they know you, because they enjoy your post and following you on social media, of course, they’re going to be way more likely to buy your music and your merchandise and even the vinyl and they may even take a collector’s approach to what you do, just because you handled these things so deftly. And all God’s children said, “Amen.”

33:33 Leah: Amen.

33:36 CJ: Physical music is not dead. Thank you, Miss Leah, for sharing your own personal success story. As you like to say, the lab rat. I think you’re more guinea pig than lab rat. What would you like for folks to do today who’d like to learn more?

33:56 Leah: Well guys, today I want to talk just for a second about our new Inner Circle monthly membership, which is a newsletter, old-school-style, which is really fun. Basically, we are sifting and sorting through all the changes that are happening in social media and in the music industry that you need to know about. I don’t care if you are just getting your music off the ground, or if you’re an advanced music marketer and you have all the funnels going, this applies to everybody.

The idea here is that you don’t need to sift and sort for hours a day to find out, “Oh, my goodness. What is the stuff that has changed that I need to know about and then what do I do about it? How does this affect me?” We’re just making this so easy for you. We’re putting it together in a very easy to consume format. It’s a PDF format and an audio format, so you have no excuse. I recommend listening and reading both versions because the audio version has extra little Easter eggs and little things in there that aren’t in the written format.

The idea is to make your life easy and simple and tell you what you need to know. If there’s an algorithm change, you’re going to know about it. We’re going to let you in on exactly what the algorithm change is, how it affects you, how to pivot and how that actually affects you as a musician specifically. 

There’s a ton of information out there and a lot of bad information. Also, you don’t need to be spending your time reading all the different news stories and figuring out what applies. The idea is that we give you a massive shortcut on all of these things and then you know what to do for the next month. That’s the new inner circle.

Now it’s a monthly subscription, so you can go to –

35:38 CJ: Yeah, savvymusicianacademy.com/innercircle. Just go –

35:44 Leah: One word.

35:44 CJ: Yeah. savvymusicianacademy.com/innercircle, one word. I just was going through the next issue. We’re in that about to publish the next issue. This thing is amazing and there are tips. I love the tips section. There are tips in there. There’s tools of the month, things that Leah recommends. There’s a book of the month. There’s a mindset article in there about just what it’s going to take mentally to succeed. 

There’s more than just with the latest updates on Facebook, ladies and gentlemen. There is a lot in this. Like I said, just great to mention it in the light of going back to the physical product element. This is old school. This is a newsletter, something for you to read, a multi-page document. There’s an audio version of it. You can also download it to your favourite mobile device and listen there. 

All that for just under 20 bucks a month. Man, that’s really, really good. Inner Circle Newsletter, go to savvymusicianacademy.com/innercircle. Leah, thank you again for taking your time to teach us.

37:00 Leah: Oh, it was my pleasure. You guys, if you ever have any more questions about this physical music stuff, also leave us comments in the free Facebook group, or if you’re a student in our student group. You can do #podcast and ask your question and we will likely turn that into an episode.

Thank you and thank you also for leaving us a review. We read all of them and we really appreciate it. It also helps us get the message out to more people. Go ahead and do that now.

37:27CJ: Awesome. Thanks again, guys. We will see you in the next episode.

Episode #058: Things People Do To Ensure Failure!

What are some of the sure ways to fail? Now, this is not a question we hear very often, yet one that is very important to ask. We are so busy asking the feel-good questions about getting that big break or being successful, but we don’t confront ourselves often enough with the reverse – looking carefully at the real reasons why we are failing, reasons that are seldom related to the program, the coach or the economy! We love to make excuses, there’s something in us that wants to avoid responsibility, but if we ever want to be successful in the music industry, it’s going to cost a lot of straightforward sacrifice. Today on the podcast Leah and CJ talk about some of the mentalities that lurk behind unrealistic expectations and the mindsets that are guaranteed to make you fail. Sometimes we need to analyze our everyday habits to measure whether we are spending our time productively: Do you prefer staying in the comfortable safe zones and are you really willing to give up Netflix or whatever it is that is sucking up all your time? Are you truly willing to do what it takes? Join us for this episode for some more challenging, yet empowering thoughts! 

Key Points from This Episode:

  • Leah’s upcoming album and how her music business is the source for new curriculum ideas.
  • The different mentalities that lurk behind people’s unrealistic expectations.  
  • Avoiding the hard work by depending on everyone else to provide answers to simple things. 
  • The power that comes along with having to figure out something yourself. 
  • The importance of taking advantage of the student community and the FAQs. 
  • Bad daily habits and people not wanting to make the necessary sacrifices. 
  • Taking a log of your activities for three days to measure productive and unproductive time. 
  • Having a low tolerance for discomfort and pain as a reason for failure. 
  • The problem of not being fully committed and not willing to put in real hard work. 
  • Multitasking and skipping through course content that you think you know.  
  • Why you should not stray from the curriculum by consulting other sources of information. 
  • Remaining an optimist even in failure and why skepticism and perfectionism are the enemy. 
  • And much more!


“That’s what Savvy Musician Academy is all about because we want to be the trustworthy resource for you, whenever you’re trying to build your music career.” —@LEAHthemusic [0:06:28]

“There’s something magical that happens when you do have to figure it out for yourself. In that moment, you also create a sense of confidence in yourself.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:15:39]

“Would you rather watch TV and play video games and drink with your friends or would you rather build a successful music business? You can’t do both, that’s not going to happen, you will not get off the ground. You need to examine your daily habits.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:22:47]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Indiegogo — https://www.indiegogo.com/

Kickstarter — https://www.kickstarter.com/

Savvy Musician Academy — https://savvymusicianacademy.com/elite/call/

Click For Full Transcript

00:22 CJ: Welcome once again to the Savvy Musician Show podcast, this is CJ Ortiz and I am the mindset and branding coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. Joined once again by her eminence, my favourite queen of the realm, Leah, how are you doing?

00:38 Leah: I’m doing fantastic, thank you, how are you?

00:41 CJ: Wonderful, you mind if I call you queen of the realm?

00:45 Leah: Sure.

00:47 CJ: People may be listening to you and maybe they don’t even know, they just got hooked on to the podcast and they don’t even listen to the music or know the culture of your particular musical genre and don’t know about Keltic Fantasy metal, Leah. And that you do represent that queen of the realm archetype out there but it makes for a great banter for me as a podcast host. 

To be able to call you cool stuff. Well again, always a pleasure to be with you and good things are happening on – I know you’ve been super busy lately with your upcoming album. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, she is practicing what she preaches and she’s in that phase of getting things ready for yet another album release. You want to give them just a quick note about that?

01:33 Leah: Yeah, I’ve been really busy and thank God so much for my staff here at Savvy Musician Academy because they really keep this whole ship running and doing excellent job at serving everyone. So that I can also go and keep doing what I do. You know, one of the things we figured out in the Savvy Musician Academy business is that, one of the most important things in figuring out where I can spend my time, where’s the most valuable place I can spend my time and there’s a few places.

One of the most important places is my own music business and the reason is because that’s my research and development. I get to be the lab rat, I’m the guinea pig, I get to try out all kinds of things and I’m doing it because I love it and I’m doing it because I have to and if Savvy Musician Academy didn’t exist, I’d be doing exactly what I’m doing right now with my music and making this current album and everything I have.

The way I get amazing ideas for curriculum, for courses, for coaching and all of that. That’s all coming from my music business. I have to have my hands dirty. Being in that position, always working on my music, finding new things that work and don’t work. I always tell my students, “Hey, you see me doing things, it doesn’t mean you should just copy it because I’m experimenting and not everything I do works. Be careful about going, assuming that just because they see me doing it that they should be doing it.”

That’s not necessarily the case, I’m trying out all kinds of stuff, I’m experimenting, I’ll come back and tell you if it worked or not. I’ll tell you if it was successful or not. As an example of that, I’m planning my upcoming crowdfunding campaign that I’ll be doing which is basically a big preorder campaign, right? They preorder the album and it helps me cover all the cost that went into the album, helps me recoup some of that which is really nice to come out on the other end of that.

Already in a positive ROI before the album’s even released. It can’t get better than that, it really can’t. In doing that, I’m considering, this is just an example of I don’t know if it’s going to work or not. Of hosting the crowdfunding campaign on my Shopify store on basically a landing page that I completely control instead of using Indiegogo with Kickstarter. 

This could be a very bad idea. I have no idea if this is going to work but I’m going to try it because that’s what I get to do and then you don’t have to make the mistakes. That’s what I’m doing and I am very excited for this upcoming album, it’s maybe one of my favourites that I’ve done, it’s not a metal album, it’s actually and so people might be wondering what I’m doing with that as far as branding goes and it’s actually, if you hear it, it sounds exactly like all my other stuff, just take out the metal.

It’s very much on-brand, it’s just – it’s a Christmas kind of holiday, winter-themed style album but I’m making a little more accessible to a larger audience. That’s what I’m doing with that and I really like what I’m hearing so far with the mixes I’m getting and I can’t wait for everybody to hear it.

04:34 CJ: Leah, I have to take advantage of what you just said because I believe that this really exemplifies why SMA takes the approach that it does in terms of what we offer and the courses that you’ve presented before are all filled with things that you have done already.

You’ve already made the mistakes, you’ve already invested the time, you’ve already invested the money so that others don’t have to. It’s proven and that’s a really important point that this is not simply theory. You’ve purged everything out, you’re going to find out what works, what doesn’t work and so that you can continually offer the most relevant up to date information possible.

In fact, this is the – a good plug for the Inner Circle newsletter that was just recently released because we want to do everything that we can to keep our followers and listeners and readers up to date with everything that’s happening, the constant changes in technology so yeah, I mean, you’re updating the Tom to 3.0, you’re going to do some upgrades to the Elite, you’re constantly making these changes and adding things like the Spotify course and what have you.

Because it’s really important that everybody gets the most up to date information. I’m glad to hear about your fundraising, doing things a little bit differently. Like you said, it may or may not work out but this is how we’re going to find out and again, all to end up with the best solutions for those who are about to launch an album, right?

06:04 Leah: That’s right, yeah, that’s just it. We put in a lot of work and it’s funny how people think things should be free all the time and they have no idea how much goes into just figuring what’s even, you know, all the back end work and figure out what’s working, what’s not working, the time, money, energy spent, just to bring relevant content and information to everyone that we can trust that’s accurate. 

I think that’s what Savvy Musician Academy is all about because we want to be the trustworthy resource for you, whenever you’re trying to build your music career. Some of you aren’t even at the music business stage, you’re just at the music career stage and you want to get to the business stage and how can you do that with terrible information, how can you do that?

You can’t. The wrong information will sabotage your results, you’re going to go down completely the wrong path and waste your time, waste your money so that’s what we’re here for. To give you that shortcut and that’s what I’m doing, you know? I am the lab rat and I get to test all kinds of things out on myself and report those results to you guys and give some good advice and be like, that is – I tried this, here’s why, this is a really bad idea or here’s why this is a fantastic idea and this worked out so much better than I thought. 

I already got a few podcast episodes talking about some of the things I learned, even about like my – the way I launched my album last time, I wouldn’t do it again that way. I’m going to do it different this time. I get to learn from my own experiments as well and that’s what this is all about.

07:37 CJ: Very cool. Well, today, we’re talking about something really interesting and I love when we do particular podcast like this Leah, because they begin from conversations that we’ve had offline and typically when you come into a meeting, all amped up we’ll just say, about something that’s gotten under your crawl as of late but out of that comes some real insight I think and we’re going to talk about that today in relation to some of three things that people do to successfully fail at this thing.

Yes, that you can successfully fail, that you are your own worst enemy. That, instead of just blaming everything around you, you know? An entitled person, right, Leah? Blames everybody around them, they blame politics, they’ll blame this, blame that, never a problem with them necessarily. You’re going to put the blame elsewhere. That can happen here too. Leah’s going to share with us today some of the things that, and it’s actually kind of cool. 

She shared some of them with me. I think you’re really going to get a lot out of this. Anyway, today, in our student spotlight, we want to talk about one of the wins and this one is from Annalise Leshamanan and she says, I started my first ad today, yesterday I had 314 likes and as of now, about six hours after I turned the ad on, I have 711. I’m pretty stoked about that.

That’s pretty cool. Good job. I coached – I did this coaching session with her about a week or so ago and she’s got good things going on again, like a lot of the students, extremely talented people that I love getting to. That’s one of the benefits to be honest with you of getting to know these students is I’m getting turned on to so many talented people and the other thing that I like about the Elite group is the attitudes because these people have invested something, they’ve got skin in the game now and it’s just – They’re very teachable, very humble but yet at the same time, so hard working so that’s been great. Good for you Annalise.

Things that people do Leah, to ensure their failure, that’s a weird approach.

09:53 Leah: Yes, well, I just thought it would be helpful to talk about things that you know, habits, mentalities, things that I’ve noticed over the years where there’s a consistent pattern of failure or failing to succeed anyways, not getting to their goals and things that need to be addressed because they are widespread, they are prevalent. I also want to say as a precursor here, that I’m not above these things I’m about to say because we’ve all been there where once upon a time, we have had a loser mentality.

Or we weren’t getting the results we wanted and we’ve had to seriously look at ourselves and go okay, what’s actually going on here? Is it that you know, the program I’m in that that sucks, is that why I’m not getting the results that I want or is it me?

I think that it’s important to address this because you’re not going to see the progress that you want unless you are willing to actually look at these cold hard truths. If I seem mean or harsh today, just know that I do love you all, I really do and brace yourselves, brace for it, I’m just going to be blunt about it because I care for you all so much. If I didn’t care about you, I wouldn’t even do this episode.

11:20 CJ: Well there’s a proverb that says that you know, rebuke and correction to a wise person is like a cool drink of water. If you’re really wanting to bring about change in things, we’ve always got to be open to correction and I think you know, this is probably – like you said, it’s going to cover all of us. Except me. Never sinned, never made a mistake.

11:46 Leah: Yeah. I think, I have a number of points and all of this actually came about just very spontaneously and to get this going, I thought I would share as you guys know, I do a ton of studying, I do a lot of reading, I take other courses, I’m always, whatever, I’m always learning, it’s part of my daily routine and I came across this little quiz in a completely unrelated course, in a totally different market but I thought this was hilarious. Because it described a lot of what we come across and it was a little quiz that at the end of the module, they wanted you to take this thing.

Here’s what it said. It says, in order to get results with this course, I should – you have to pick one. A, skim around, take reckless action and rely on my gut instinct. B, treat it like a college class and study each video in the order it is presented and carefully, complete the entire course before expecting serious results. Correct.

C, not watch any videos, sit in the group, tagging coaches over and over until they do everything for me. Or D, watch 20 minutes of content, get mad because I’m not rich yet, throw a temper tantrum in the group and then take off my shirt, light it on fire and swing it around while screaming curse words. That just cracked me up. That made me laugh.

13:06 CJ: For anybody who has been in groups, you know exactly what that means.

13:10 Leah: Yeah, I mean, we’ve been blessed that for the most part, we have really amazing clients. But especially more you know, in free groups or especially if you have like a lot of students. At some point, you’re going to come across stuff like this and if you’re a business owner, probably come across customers at one point or another who kind of do something similar to this.

Maybe not in a virtual setting but the point is that there is clearly a mentality behind what people’s expectations are, you know, for example, the – I watch 20 minutes of content and I’m mad because I’m not rich yet, you know? That is a real mentality. There’s people who think, well, I went through this module, why am I not seeing results yet? They want to blame the content when the question is well, what did you do with that content, how long did you do it for, are you consistent?

How hard did you actually try? There’s a lot we can say about that but I wanted to share that because it was really funny to me and also because there’s some truth there. What you can come across. Yeah.

Okay, about things that people do to ensure failure, I thought about a couple other titles with this. Things losers do, we could be mean but it’s things that people are constantly doing habit wise, mentality wise, mindset wise, that are going to ensure that you do not succeed no matter how good your coaches are, no matter how good your courses, no matter how supported you are, these are the things that if you are doing them.

You will not succeed. There’s no way you have 100% failure rate at this rate. One is, dependency on others for answers constantly. Constant dependency, meaning, you’re not using your own brain, not using your brain for things that are obvious, for things that Google can completely answer for you and relying on coaches or other students around you or other people to give you the answer.

There’s a partial laziness there. You don’t want to do the hard work. You don’t want to go through – burn through the glucose in your brain to get to those answers. When I started out inside Savvy Musician Academy and in my own music business, I had nobody to turn to for answers. Nobody gave me a single answer for anything. 

I had to figure it out. There’s something magical that happens when you do have to figure it out for yourself. In that moment, you also create a sense of confidence in yourself. When you become so dependent on everybody else to constantly give you answers, you have no confidence that you can do anything. Because if they’re just constantly – 

That would be like me, homeschooling my kid, giving them every single answer they need for every math question. How is that accomplishing anything?

16:09 CJ: Right.

16:10 Leah: It’s not. I am actually debilitating their ability to solve problems on their own. This is something we see a lot out there. That’s some big things. What’s the answer for that? Use your damn brain.

16:24 CJ: My god, it’s so true Leah, as both as homeschooling parents, the both of us here. We are developing our children to be self-taught. That doesn’t mean that they’re learning everything from scratch without the help of textbooks and recorded lectures or what have you. It’s all there. But the objective is to get them learning on their own.

You raise a child to be mature and mature means responsible, right? Otherwise, you have a dependent for the rest of their life. You know, it’s funny to have that sort of mentality to develop in adult education for what I understand that your course can sometimes be challenging because you go so deep into these different aspects and there’s a lot to learn, a lot of software and all of that sort of stuff.

We understand the idea of being overwhelmed and in the other side, we don’t want to discourage good questions. However, what it turns into just asking for everything from how to turn on my computer to you know –

17:35 Leah: Right, especially things that are already in the course and they’re in, this goes into my next point is not taking – people who fail, do not take advantage of the current community, the current frequently asked questions type documents that are out there that you know, whether you’re in somebody else’s course, or you’re in our course, whatever.

Most companies have frequently asked questions. Not taking advantage of those things, not using – this is an amazing feature inside of Facebook groups called a search bar. You can look up any keyword in there and see all the past things that have already been answered. Your question, I guarantee has already been answered a hundred times and so taking advantage of that and then also taking advantage of if you were in a course like our Elite program or we have live coaching. Not showing up to that is a sure way to fail.

Not showing up live and being engaged, asking your questions then, especially if they haven’t been answered yet and you went through the course material and you know that your question has been answered, that is the place you need to be to get that, especially if you have a unique situation, unique circumstance, that’s – sometimes it can be difficult to know how to apply something to you and that’s where you should be.

We don’t want to discourage good questions, we don’t want to discourage people from getting help, absolutely not. It’s more the people who have become, it’s a mentality where they are dependent on everybody to do something for them and the very simple obvious things that have already been answered, they’ve already been addressed a hundred times, they’re not taking advantage of those things and that mentality, if you just look at the path that where that leads.

Do I see that kind of person making 10 grand a month with their music? No, I don’t. You have to have a bootstrap mentality. You have to have the mentality that nothing will get in my way, no tech problem is going to get in my way, no Facebook pixel issue is going to get to figure out no matter what. Those people are the ones that are going to make $10,000 a month with their music. That’s why I need to bring this up.

19:45 CJ: I think what also happens and we posted this in the Elite group recently about all questions are ultimately important, right? It’s just how you get those questions answered and what it shows sometimes when you see the same students, for example, asking the same sort of questions on an ongoing basis, you realize they’re not necessarily thinking about the most important questions, which is going to be about, how can I sell my music in the most cost-effective way. What’s the best way for me to sell my music?

Even though there are so many things in the Savvy Musician courses that are technical, software-oriented, you got to learn about copyright, all of that stuff, it’s still going to come down to this simple thing of who is your target audience and who do you need to market to and what do you need to say and what do you need to offer.

Those are things that are not necessarily technical. Those things are about understanding who you are, what your genre is, what your niche is, who your target audience is and really soak in your head in that culture. I wish sometimes the student spent more time studying their respective listener and the culture involved. Because that would answer so many things with them.

20:57 Leah: Yes, absolutely. Another one is bad daily habits. People who they say, I want to build an online music career, I want to make two, $3,000 a month with my music, I want to be able to live off of my music and quit my day job and yet, they’re spending three, four hours a day, watching TV, playing video games, drinking, out with their friends, doing this, that and the other thing, they have absolutely no concept of what sacrifice means, no concept at all. If they saw – 

You know, people want to know how I do it all and how I do – I don’t’ do it all, that’s the whole point, I don’t do it all. I sacrificed very much in order to do what I do because unless you are willing to give up some of those things and I’m talking to myself here too. I’ve decided, I’m going to be doing a lot more reading than I have been, that’s one thing that I’ve dropped is reading physical books. I’m talking to myself here too.

But, if you are not at the income level you want to be, I guarantee you, if you were to cut out all that – how many hours per day watching TV, even if it’s one hour and you watch one hour a day of whatever show, Netflix, seven days a week, that’s seven hours that you could have put in to building your online career. You know, if I took that seven hours, I guarantee you, I would have 5,000 more people on my list by the end of that week. 

If I took those hours out of your schedule and put them in my schedule. I would probably make an extra $5,000 in that time because I know what to do with it and I will make sure that I’m productive with that time. You know, people who say that they’re serious aren’t actually that serious because they’re not willing to give it up so I think you need to pick and choose.

Would you rather watch TV and play video games and drink with your friends or would you rather build a successful music business? You can’t do both, that’s not going to happen, you will not get off the ground. You need to examine your daily habits.

I’m as spontaneous as they come out there. Don’t think for a second that it’s easy for Leah, you know, she runs Savvy Musician Academy, she does this that and the other thing and she’s really disciplined, I’m not. I have to work very hard to be disciplined. I am as artsy-fartsy as they get. I don’t like schedules, I don’t like routine, I like to wake up and decide what I feel like doing, that’s my nature and I have to dial that – I have to reel that in, I have to reign it in and cut out those things that are not going to make me money.

I want you to – if you could get one take away from here, I would say, you should take a log of all your activities for like three days straight and just count up how many activities in your day are income-producing and how many activities in your day are sucking up productivity, sucking up income?

Your eyes will be opened as to how much time you waste, you waste so much time that you could be 10 times further than you are right now but you decided to waste it away, I want to say Netflix because that’s probably the biggest one but you know, fill in the blank with whatever it is you’re doing. I think that would be very eye-opening exercise if you did that.

24:22 CJ: Yeah, a friend of mine used to always say that the secret of your future is found in your daily routine and like Leah said, sacrifice is the keyword here because it means, giving yourself for yourself, right? You’re giving up something, that’s for sure. But you’re not giving it up for somebody else, you’re not giving it up for something that you don’t really care. This is your own interest.

You’re giving yourself for yourself, sacrificing what you were or are in order to become what you can be. Be willing to throw yourself on that fiery altar and be consumed in the flames of personal commitment. You can do it, you can check like Leah said, as you know she’s artsy-fartsy, she wants to be able to just go do but she can’t. If you are going to run a successful business these are the things you’ve got to do especially at the outset and everybody that we are talking to is at the outset, right? It takes more fuel to get the rocket off the ground. It can coast later so let’s pay our dues now. 

25:25 Leah: That’s right and I am going off of that point. I would say people who fail have a very, very low tolerance for being uncomfortable or low pain tolerance. So they only want to feel good, they only want to feel comfortable and anything that takes them outside of that, they just want to go back into that zone of comfort once again and so again, there is going to be – and nobody told me this but it was something I just wanted to do. 

And I have said this in past episodes where people have heard me say, you know my current discomfort is irrelevant and that has to become your motto that it is going to be uncomfortable to spend so much time studying. It is going to be uncomfortable to take risks. It is going to be uncomfortable to put yourself out there and try and build a fan base and build an email list and do Facebook ads and none of it feels good, there are things you need to do in order to get to that end goal. So people who fail, who have a habit of failing they don’t want to cause themselves discomfort. 

26:31 CJ: Yeah, I like to say when you are discomfort is comfortable enough that’s when you’ll settle and that’s very easy for people to get into and it’s funny if you have somebody who has a passion Leah for music and because of the amount of work that may be involved in getting things underway that they will literally sign a contract with mediocrity, settle for where they are because even though it is uncomfortable to be there and not have their dream, it’s still comfortable enough for them to tolerate. 

So they’re willing to tolerate the fact that they put their dream on hold and settle for where it is right now knowing they could have been ten times further down the road, ten times more the output. They have this much capacity as anybody else does and don’t sign that contract with mediocrity. Don’t do that. 

27:21 Leah: That’s right. Another one to ensure failure is basically having your foot half in and half out the door whenever you are in a program or you’re trying to learn something, again, this is a commitment issue. You are not all in, you are not fully committed, you haven’t dove into the water you just are dangling your toes in there, you are guaranteed to fail. You cannot approach any of this stuff with a half-ass mentality. 

If you do, yeah just expect to fail, expect to not succeed ever. It is guaranteed you’re going to fail. You know when I say go all in, I mean I have faced these things. I am all in all the time but for example my upcoming crowdfunding campaign, it’s scary before you go to launch. It’s like “Ooh” it is like there’s a switch that I have to flip again where it’s just like this is do or die. It’s like, “I am going to raise this amount and I’ve got to go all in.” 

All in and so it is going to take up a lot of my time and don’t think for a second that when I go to launch something like that for example, I just launch it and then it will happen all by itself. No, I am working it. I am earning every single dollar that comes in. I am working it as though none of it is going to come in on its own. That’s how I approach it. I don’t think for a second that any of it is going to happen like I am just going to push a button and then it is all going to come to me because I built this fan base. 

I don’t approach it like that. No, I like to approach things as though nothing is guaranteed at all and that pretend like nobody is going to contribute. What would I do? And then I continue to work it until I can squeeze out every last drop when people are totally sick of me and they never are but that’s how I approach it. So when I say all in, I mean you need to work it. You need to actually try and that’s the other thing. I think people don’t actually try very hard. 

They think that they do but they don’t. It’s just like someone who went for a walk around the block saying that, “Oh I did such a hard workout” no you didn’t. You did whatever you know, no you didn’t. That is not a difficult workout. That is how I think most people are viewing what I’m doing. It’s so much work that I would have to actually learn all of this and yeah, it is not that you have to, you get to. You get to learn all of this and the fact that there is Internet is amazing.

The fact that you no longer need to go through a label or executives for anybody to hear your music that is amazing. The fact that you get to actually control of what happens or doesn’t happen that’s amazing. You get to do this and if you have that mentality of I have to do this and it is so much work, guaranteed failure. 

30:15 CJ: Yep. 

30:18 Leah: I guarantee you will never make any money. 

30:20 CJ: No. I often tell people how hard do I work, like it all depends on me. That is how hard I work because it does and yes, there are resources, yes there’s help but ladies and gentleman you are not going to get anywhere without the sweat equity. I know work is another four-letter word but you know you’re designed for it. On the other side of all of the struggle that you believe is in front of you, the effort that it is going to take to create your dream is a stronger better version of you. 

One that doesn’t have regret, one that feels satisfied because you can pat yourself on the back. You can high five yourself that you did this. You did this and it got to be better than just settling for where you are just because of something like work. 

31:08 Leah: Yeah, exactly and on that note. I was going to the next one here. I think that we’ve all probably done this but I want to really drill this in that this will cause failure and that is skipping through content and I am talking about in a course situation, in a course setting, skipping through the content and skipping over to what you think applies to you. There’s so many things that are said and taught in these other lessons that you think I’m passed and I’m passed that but they are little nuances. 

They’re details of things that matter greatly as they say, small hinges swing big doors and some of these small little tips, this little principles, these little instructions make or break what you are doing and if you think I already know that, I am passed that, I am more advanced and you are skipping over to the parts that you think apply, I guarantee you, you are missing it and there’s probably some huge things that could be so much better for you but they aren’t because you just skipped right over it. 

And then you want to ask questions about it later and you’re in some stuff. It’s like, “Well did you actually go and watch it?” and I will say another funny thing is when people watch videos and they say they watched it and then they asked a question about that was totally answered in that video and it’s like, “Did you watch it?” “Yeah I watched it and it wasn’t answered” and then you go to that exact spot and yeah, it’s right there. 

So I don’t know what happens in people’s brains where there is selective hearing going on or I am not sure what happens there but that’s the sure way to fail as well and so not paying attention, thinking you are above it and then not paying attention when you are consuming it. Maybe you got your phone on beside you, maybe you’re browsing around in the internet why you’re going through it. I guarantee you are not taking in the content and you are not absorbing it if you are multitasking. 

So that is another huge problem. I mean I understand like we have a major attention deficit problem right now with social media and I struggle with this too, context switching. It is like I am trying to listen to something and do something else and do something else and then my phone is dinging and people are messaging me and I am trying to listen to a podcast at the same time, your brain is not designed to function that way and take in information in that fashion. 

It can’t process it. You can only do one thing at a time successfully. So yeah, I am killing a few birds with one stone there. Skipping through content. You are skipping right over stuff that could completely change your music business and then contact switching ADD situation, multitasking and you are not absorbing even what you are going through so. 

34:02 CJ: I am willing to bet, Leah that besides not finishing a course that that’s probably a big thing. It is like a lot of people are trying to kill two birds with one stone in the sense of multitasking and doing, thinking that by listening to it not for example watching one of your modules where you are light boarding things and bullet points and whatnot, seeing it as well as hearing it that sort of stuff then there’s not the focus. 

There is not the attention and there is just way too much at stake for you to I mean a professional sports team will never allow its players to do that. You have to learn everything and if you’re going to invest in a course or some sort of self-education program and then by all means devote yourself to it. So it’s a battle, like you said it is something that we all face. When you were saying that your phone going off and this going off and you are trying to listen, I know exactly what you are talking about, it is. It is a very tough thing but when you consider the price of what’s at stake, yeah we can do it. 

35:09 Leah: Totally, yeah I had a couple other thoughts occur to me as you were saying that but I think along those lines, another one would be straying from the curriculum itself if you are going through your program. We have a lot of programs but if you are going through something, one great way to fail is to dilute what you’re learning and confuse yourself with alternate sources of information. So when you are going through a course and then you’re also doing YouTube. 

And your other Facebook groups and you’re going to another course and you are just hop, skipping, jumping all over the place, I guarantee you this person is broke and they’re not making any money and they are not going to. They can’t focus. They can’t actually commit to one program and that is the worst thing you could do. It does not help you get to your end goal. So the lack of focus there is really going to inhibit your results. So don’t stray from the curriculum. 

If you’re going through a program commit, go all the way through it. Block out everything else. I will guarantee you, you will get so much better results. The program isn’t the problem. You’re the problem. 

36:21 CJ: Yep, an old friend of mine used to say people fail because of broken focus and you know like we have said before and I know I have said this that you could probably do very well with half the stuff that you teach, Leah if you just understood the basics and you got the important aspects about culture and targeting and niche and all of that good stuff, you could probably go further than people who know everything there is to know simply because you’re willing to stay focused. 

And do the work and the follow-through. It is always a failure, Leah in fundamentals. It is not because you don’t know a particular new secret. There is no secret here it’s all fundamentals and either fail in them or the failure is because you didn’t consistently apply them and so again, it leads to you being dependent upon others, playing the blame game, you know blame the course, blame other people, blame your background, all of these other things. 

Blame the economy, everything. You are going to blame everything else simply but you are going to find that your problems were basic, laziness, procrastination, lack of focus, not listening, skipping through courses, skipping through the modules of the course what have you. 

37:44 Leah: Exactly. My last couple ones here, ways to ensure you’re going to fail is continue to be skeptical. Skeptical of yourself, skeptical that it is not going to work for you, it is not going to work for me, skeptical of your coaches, mentors, people around you, skeptical that people like us that we actually want to help you. Skepticism is not your friend when you’re trying to make money, especially in the music industry. It is not going to help you. 

Now I would be skeptical of contracts if someone is like throwing there’s a place here for that but I am not talking about that. I am talking about your educational journey to success that is what we’re talking about in this frame. So by all means, continue to be skeptical but also continue to be broke. I think there is going to be a hand – something goes hand in hand there. You have to become an optimist and in the face of failing a lot. Be prepared to make all kinds of mistakes and have things fail. 

Now I am talking about a different kind of failure. I am talking about the kind that you actually learn from and the kind that actually moves you forward. The kind that will eventually make you money and you have to be willing to put Facebook ads out there that flop and write another one. Write a hundred more. You know when you’ve written 200 different Facebook ads, you eventually start to figure out a few things. You eventually start to realize, “Oh, okay I get this now.”

Don’t think that you are going to put one thing out there and then it is going to work. So I am going to add to this list aside from continuing to be skeptical, perfectionism. That is another sure way to fail. Failure to launch is the number one reason people fail at all is because they don’t actually get anything out there. They are too stuck in their perfectionism and I know musicians struggle with this specifically. We want everything to be perfect. 

We are creators of art and art we want it just right and so we end up applying that to our funnels and email marketing and all of this. We want to be just right and if it is not, we freak out. Sometimes we are a little bit emotional. We are a little bit control freaks in that way but I am telling you, you cannot be a perfectionist when it comes to getting this stuff out online. I learned very early in the game it is better to put out something, just get it out there and then fix it later and make it better. 

And tweak it later than to not get it out at all. If I am not going to get it out at all that means I can’t learn anything. There is no data for me to gather. So perfectionism is another sure way to fail. Get it out there, whatever it is you’re working on, if it is a landing page, a Facebook ad, email, you need to send it. Yes, there is going to be a typo, yeah, you probably forgot to put in a link somewhere. You probably spelled something wrong. I mean trust me, I make all these mistakes every single week. 

Do you think anybody cares? No at the end of the day, no. Now I am all for high standards. I am for excellence but I do my best and I just make a lot of mistakes on the way and then I go and fix them so that’s it. If you can have that mentality, you will – your chances of success are so much higher than everybody else’s.

40:57 CJ: Yeah, it really is. This is something we see a lot especially in the Elite group is they want to do right. They want to do well but then we see that maybe after a couple of months they’re still taking laps around the same mountain over and over and over again. When you just want to tell them, “Okay well, let’s put that aside for just a little bit and focus on running this kind of ad.” Just get some brand awareness. You need data. 

One thing I have said to so many students in the elite group, you need data. You got to get data. Put something out there. I know you got music, you got something we can target an audience. It may not be perfect but let us find out. We’ll never know. We can sit here and talk about all the different scenarios and write all of the interesting categories down and all the layering and such in the ad manager but nothing is going to happen until you put an ad out there and see if it does well or not. So you know let’s take some action. It is just so much easier to steer a car that is moving. 

42:02 Leah: That is right and speaking of data, let me give you a quick example of that since we’re talking a little bit about my crowdfunding thing that I am doing, I am getting ready for it not launching it quite yet but I am preparing it in the process of preparing. I’ve done something where I sent my fans, I asked them to opt into a specific email campaign that tells me that they want to know when my campaign goes live. 

They wanted the information and I am basically asking them for a little pre-commitment that they want in on this and of course, you know I got a track record so they know what my music sounds like. They know what they can expect from me. I haven’t even released a teaser yet. Nobody has heard a clip of music except for a couple 15 second things on Instagram stories but something I did was I sent them in the first email that they get. 

So they opt in to this. I send them automatically a first email and I asked them to answer three questions in this little Google form quiz thing just a little survey, three questions. One is “are you planning on pledging in this campaign?” Yes, no, maybe. The second the one was “If provided there is going to be some awesome pre-order bundles, how much of a co-creator would you like to be?” and then I give dollar ranges in there and then at the end, I just ask “Are there any specific items you like to see?”  

This is data collection right? And I do not worry about perfection. I just want to collect some data and you know what’s so cool? I haven’t even launched this campaign yet and last time I add it up, I try to lowball. I always try to go extremely conservative on the conservative end of the spectrum. So I gave all of these different dollar range options. So I add it all up on the low end of it and I am currently sitting somewhere around $54,000 in pre-pledged commitments, conservatively, before I even have launched this thing at all. 

That data is so valuable to me. I mean, that gives me the confidence that I need to go forward with this and make it really amazing. You know, you cannot be a perfectionist, you can’t be skeptical, you can’t be un-coachable, you can’t have all these other things that we talked about here to get to the place where you can do things like this. You know, that data is invaluable and yeah, I just wanted to share that to encourage you guys that I too think about what if it fails, what if this doesn’t work? The answered solution to that is get the data.

Then, have a positive mindset, don’t be skeptical and you have to see the glass half full when you’re doing all of this and it’s always about what can I learn. Even if it fails and it falls on its face, what did I learn from that? That’s what’s going to really help you.

44:51 CJ: That’s awesome. Ladies and gentlemen, these are some very powerful keys to how to fail. How to successfully fail, how to ensure your failure. Great ways to fail. Sometimes you got to kind of address it from that standpoint for people to know because sometimes it really is, we can learn all the great principles of success and we can, as you said earlier, it almost deceives ourselves into thinking, we are working hard, we did go through the course. You can’t figure out – 

What am I doing wrong because I followed all the keys to success so to speak.

45:27 Leah: No you didn’t. I guarantee you.

45:30 CJ: One way to find out is to talk about the steps to failure and by understanding the things that make up for failure, it gives you a better understanding that you weren’t necessarily following the steps to success if that makes any sense but Leah, what would you like to have everybody do today?

45:45 Leah: I’d like you to follow the damn course.

45:48 CJ: There it is, we’ll see you guys later.

45:49 Leah: Yeah. One last thing, probably my number one pet peeve, this is my last thing to say. My number one pet peeve is when people ask me a question and it reveals to me that you didn’t watch the course, you didn’t watch the lessons thoroughly and you weren’t paying attention and you’re skipping it and you’re being lazy and now you just want me to tell you the answer.

I mean, that really gets under my skin. That’s because I’ve already done this for you, I’ve already put in all those time and effort, all I ask is that you put in the effort too. That way, we can work together. That’s pretty much what I have to say on that.

46:27 CJ: Yeah, well, ladies and gentlemen, if you’d like to go a little bit further, a little bit deeper into this and you’re interested in finding out about the Elite course that we talk about so many times here on the podcast. I would encourage you to book a call with the coaches today. 

You can go to callsma.com and find out more about what’s involved in the elite program and you get to be in the company of the lovely Leah McHenry and learn firsthand all the wonderful things that you need to have a successful career in music and if you’d like to do is a solid, you can review this podcast.

We’ve got some great reviews lately from people. Thank you to all of you out here who have reviewed the podcast but go to your favorite player, Spotify, stitcher, iTunes, whatever you’re listening to and leave some stars, five preferably and say good things about us, it helps us in the rankings and some other wonderful creative people like yourself to discover.

The most awesome music marketing podcast on the planet, Savvy Musician Show. I’m a tad biased.

47:40 Leah: Thanks for listening everybody. By the way, we read every single review so thank you.

47:44 CJ: That’s right, we’ll see you guys next time.

Episode #057: Take Your Teamwork To The Next Level

As part of our few special episodes, we are talking about something that indirectly – yet profoundly – affects our businesses and music careers, and that is different personalities and leadership styles. Sometimes you just click with people and other times you bump heads with members of your team and you find yourself wondering what’s going on. The truth is, you need those people in your team. You need people to not only agree with you but to challenge you and stand in for you in those areas where you struggle, and vice versa. We are all wired differently and therefore we bring different things to the table and we need to recognize how our strengths and weaknesses function together to make a well-rounded team. Today Leah shares more about the different types of leaders and also about the relationally inclined synergist who we all need to become more like. We strongly encourage you and your team to do The Synergist quiz to see which kind of leader you are and how you can best work together. This is also a great tool if you’re thinking about getting a team together, so be sure to listen in for some really helpful information! 

Key Points from This Episode:

  • More about The Synergist quiz and the four different leadership styles. 
  • Why everybody needs to be a synergist or work at becoming more like one. 
  • Why you eventually need each one of the four leaders on your team. 
  • Examples of how the different leaders complement one another. 
  • A few humorous pointers for visionaries in the workplace. 
  • A brief description of each of the natural occurring leadership styles.
  • How the synergist is fundamentally different to the other types of leaders. 
  • Playing all the different roles when starting off your business. 
  • And much more! 


“Everybody needs to be a synergist in their business, in their workplace, in their home.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:04:33]

“I say, have all your band mates take this quiz too because then you know what you’re dealing with as far as like just personalities and the way people are wired.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:11:53]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Superfan System Elite — https://savvymusicianacademy.com/elite/call/

Savvy Musician Mastermind on Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/groups/savvymusician/

Predictable Success Quiz — https://getpredictablesuccess.com/styles-quiz/ 

The Synergist Book —  https://amzn.to/2lLIV1t 

Airtable — https://airtable.com/

Click For Full Transcript

00:22 CJ: Welcome to the Savvy Musician Show. This is CJ Ortiz, the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. As I mentioned, we’re doing two very special podcast episodes. Last week, we did the secret to understanding social media. These are two episodes taken from our Elite coaching calls. You’re getting a backstage look at some of the very in-depth coaching that Leah, myself and the other team members here at the Savvy Musician Academy do each month with our Elite students.

Today, Leah is talking about in episode 57, “Take your teamwork to the next level.” Now, this is being taken from a book that she shared with our Elite members called The Synergist by Les McKeown. How to lead your team to predictable success and it has to do with self-assessment. Maybe you’ve taken personality profiles in the past. But when you understand the way that you’re wired and when you finally understand the way your team members are wired, you’re going to be launched into a new season of productivity that you’ve never experienced before.

This works for relationships of all sorts. No matter what you’re doing right now, even if you’re involved in a day job and it’s not so much being applied to your team or your band members. This is something that is going to seriously make a difference in your life. To understand the different ways in which we are naturally wired and how we can learn to work better together. Take your teamwork to the next level.

Let’s go in right now to Leah’s Elite coaching call.

01:59 Leah: The first thing I wanted to talk about was The Synergist quiz which was really fun and I have Steve join us. I think he’ll be here in just a minute, we’re putting kids down for naps and stuff like that during this call. The reason I want to bring Steve on to talk about The Synergist quiz is because we went through that quiz together. All three years ago.

That was right after we had launched SMA. It’s a good thing that we took that quiz because honestly, up until that point in time, him and I would clash a lot on our differences and we did not appreciate each other’s natural wirings and giftings, it was always like a point of clashing rather than a point of appreciation.

After that quiz and when you do it, they give you a little, just a very short summary and then if you sign up, they send you more information about that. Then they have a book as well which we’ll share the link with you today. When we ran through those summaries and everything, it was like a mind-blowing lightbulb moment and our business mentor said to us, Leah, you’re a visionary and Steve is an operator synergist. You two are incredibly lucky and blessed that you’re married to each other.

You couldn’t have a better combination and I was blown away because you know when we did Myers Briggs test and stuff, that always said that we were the worst combination on like planet earth that we shouldn’t even be married. These test – yet we took this one and saying, basically, we could be a real power team together if we learn to work together like that. That completely changed my perspective on our relationship, it changed our perspective on even just dealing with parents and kids relationships and then of course, in like a workplace environment when you’re building a team.

Who is it that you need? The basic premise of this whole Synergist thing is if for anybody who didn’t get to take the test there are four different kinds of leadership styles and everybody’s a leader but you lead in different ways. You have the visionary, you have the operator, get the processor and you have the synergist.

04:08 Leah: Most people are a combination of all four, although, some of us are more dominant toward the three. Now, the deal is that everybody needs to learn to become a synergist. A synergist is like a skill that can be learned. It’s basically being able to get along with everybody, being empathetic, understanding where other people are coming from instead of being dominating and imposing our perspective on everybody else.

Everybody needs to be a synergist in their business, in their workplace, in their home. Really, it’s a trait that, it’s people skills. But some people are naturally wired to be like that, they just woke up out of bed and they just get along with everybody. Everybody loves them.

Other people like me and other people who are very high on like the visionary end of the spectrum, we tend to not have as much natural synergism and we have to work at it. It doesn’t mean we’re automatic jerks but it just means that we have to develop the people skills side more than other people, we just have to work harder at that.

That relational level. Because for me, I’m very much like get to the point, let’s talk about results, I just want to deal with the stuff, you know? It all bypass sometimes, the relational side but because I’m an artist, I think that the artist side definitely makes us some more in touch with the relationships I think.

05:26 Leah: Yeah, everybody needs to learn to be a synergist, but here’s why I actually wanted you to take it is because as you guys start to grow in your music business, you’re going to want to start building out your team and by team, I don’t mean like they’re on salary necessarily but contractors and people you work with all the time, you know, graphic artists, even, I don’t know, an assistant, virtual assistant, things like that and it’s going to be really important for who you hire and who you work with and that you make them take this test, make sure you take the test because if you’re a high operator, what you don’t need is another operator. 

You need a processor or you need a visionary. Going back to the four basic things, in order to get off the ground, you’re starting like a company, if you were starting a business or a company, you need all four of those roles to properly launch this thing and get it off the ground and to scale. You can actually get away with not having those other three roles for a period of time but you will hit a ceiling.

For me being a visionary, if I try to launch Savvy Musician Academy and I didn’t have Steve, I would make it to a certain point in success but then it would just stagnate because I’m all vision, I was all about what I was imagining and what I wanted to do and I just want to get it done. But without systems and processes. 

Airtable, the excel spreadsheets without having the relational people and knowing how to form relationships and manage people and things like that. We wouldn’t even be sitting here having this conversation right now. Elite wouldn’t exist because I couldn’t do it all myself.

07:09 Leah: I would imagine Elite but it wouldn’t have taken shape and form and actually manifested into a real program of changing lives. Think about your dominant characteristic and I have actually my awesome team put together all of your results for me, I have you all here in a little spreadsheet.

Jeff Pierce is 510 visionary, 150 operators, 60 processor and 240 synergist. Your high synergist and high visionary, that’s amazing by the way. Great combination. Hour lower end is processor for example. If you were to need help, say in the future with a virtual assistant, you’d probably want them to be a lot higher a score of an operator and processor. 

Somebody who like to get stuff done and somebody who loves to put together systems and processes and they love and are in love with Airtable, you know? They could just sit there and look at data all day long and just love it. You can just kind of tell them, “Hey, I need this to happen, I need that to happen” and then they go and actually kind of do it and then they can also put it in spreadsheets for you so you can know and properly look at the data and make decisions.

That’s what you do with this information and we can recommend the book – the book called The Synergist and I just think this is an amazing book for everybody to read because this is more than like business skill. This is kind of a life thing but it will help you know how to proceed when it’s time to scale.

08:46 Leah: Some of you guys are going to be doing that this year, this coming year. If you have it, we can pop that link in the chat, it’s an Amazon link so there you go, yeah, you guys want to find it and yeah, the guys is Les McKeown and he has other programs he helps build up big businesses and stuff. And help them scale.

This is just radically important. I just think it’s so life-changing. Read all the material you can, if you just do the free stuff, even if you don’t read the book, read the emails that he sends you, there’s some other little snippets that are really fantastic. Yeah, the bottom line, if you’re al processor for example, you will really not get very far without a visionary aspect in your music business or in any business. You will need somebody to speak into your life or into your music business that can dream big.

But I don’t think anybody in here scored really high on processor. What I’m seeing here, that’s the lowest score for most of you guys which makes sense, we’re musicians, right? When not a lot of us are like data junkies. But visionary was big, I think higher on the operator and high on the synergist which is cool. Only a couple of people got zero synergist.

Christian got zero synergist, Marcela got zero synergist and I just did the quiz again myself this morning. I do it periodically because here’s what I found is that sometimes, it will change a little bit depending on the season of life you’re in. Right now, today, mine was 510 visionary, remember, this is out of 960 points. 510 visionary, 210 operator, 180 processor and 60 synergist.

10:27 Leah: The reason my processor’s a lot higher than it normally is because we’re trying to simplify things in SMA internal systems and stuff because I found that things have gotten really complex and I feel like it’s gotten a bit out of control because we use Infusionsoft, I call Confusionsoft. It feels like it takes a rocket science team to send one email, that’s how I feel.

We’re trying to simplify our internal system. I’m thinking about processes and even in my own music business with Peter. Him and I created a lot of processes this year. I mean, I have all over Airtable so normally my processor is way further down than that like 60 or 80 but right now, it’s a 180 because I’m focused on that right now. That makes sense that that’s important to me so a lot of the way I answer the quiz.

Hopefully, I’m not boring you all to death on this stuff. Then operator is like you want to just get stuff done and you just want to see – let’s talk about results, let’s talk about results, let’s get her done. I think a lot of us a part of that and then visionary is high, it’s not surprising to me at all that most of you guys are high visionary.

The only person who was low visionary was Chris Swan and super high operator and then kind of balance between processor and synergist. That’s a really interesting combination. I don’t know if I’ve seen that before. Chris, if you’re listening, you may have other bandmates that are visionary or somebody that you’re working with and may be high visionary. I say, have all your bandmates take this quiz too because then you know what you’re dealing with as far as like just personalities and the way people are wired and I don’t know why I get goosebumps but I do when I talk about this stuff because I feel like it just lands home for everybody, it’s just going to apply.

Yeah, this is hilarious when I retook the quiz this morning on the page after, it says a little more information. I see they updated a few things. “Since you’re all visionaries will read this, the visionary leaders, weekend mantra or how I learned that it’s not all about me”, this is on their website, this is funny.

12:28 Leah: Again, this is a work kind of business context but it’s still funny. “Being a visionary leader is the coolest, most important thing any organization needs, it’s also sometimes a short cut to being a jerk. Repeat after me. On Monday, I won’t hijack the weekly planning meeting with whatever stunning insight I read, heard or invented over the weekend. Instead, I’ll listen patiently and offer only what is relevant and on point, knowing that if my stunning insight is of any real value it will be just as relevant later in the week.” That’s so funny. 

“On Tuesday, I won’t pull some poor unsuspecting schmuck into my office and terrify him by asking an outrageously pointed though pointless question is they’ll take the same guy to lunch, find out how I can help him do his job better. On Wednesday, I will resist my arsonist tendencies. I won’t light a match and throw it some initiative that’s struggling to gain traction. Ooh instead, I will recognize that I was the person who started the damn initiative in the first place and I will do the hard work of buckling down to actually find out what’s going wrong and we’ll try to fix it.” That is a good one. 

“On Thursday, I will strenuously resist the need to yet again repeat and embellish barely believable stories without the magnificent feats of daring do I accomplished in the past. Instead, I will go out of my way to identify a recent real events that daring do that my team have accomplished and I will find a way to celebrate them without the main purpose being to draw attention to myself.” Ouch. 

“On Friday, I will recognize that not everyone in my organization has the same flexibility in their schedule than I have. I won’t stroll into the office wearing my golf shirt and slacks and saying, ‘Hey, how’s it going? We never talk these days, let’s shoot the breeze.’ Instead, I’ll realize that many people get their best work done on Fridays and well basically I won’t act like a jerk. I’ll go play golf, stay out of everyone’s way while they actually get good work done.” 

Okay, they actually have these for all of the results. So if you clicked on one of the links, it will take you to this page and you’d see they have one for everyone. So it was kind of funny, humorous. So I thought I’d share because most of you guys are high on the visionary spectrum. All right, is Steve on here? I think he is. I don’t know if you’re set up yet Steve but is there something you want to read a little excerpt out of that book before we move onto the questions? Because I just thought this was super helpful. 

14:43 Steve: So yeah, this is definitely something that we have gone through as a team here at SMA and it’s definitely helped us as a team function better but it is like as Leah said earlier though when we first started SMA, started working together, her and I took this and it was revolutionary for our marriage primarily but also totally helped with understanding each other and how we work together and learning how to because the whole point is, you want to appreciate everybody’s differences. 

We don’t all have the same strengths or the same weaknesses. So when you are building a team, you want to be able to lean on people where you are weak and you want them to lean on you where you are strong. So it’s been totally helpful for us. So I just want to read you, I am going to read from the – I think it is Chapter One summary and it just gives a short brief description of each of the natural styles. So it says: 

“Organizations do not achieve success. People achieve success through working individually and in groups and teams. Everyone who participates in group or teamwork tends to primarily in one of three naturally occurring styles: the visionary, the operator and the processor. Those are the naturally occurring styles. The synergist is more of a learned style. Some people generally have or naturally have but it is more of a learned style. 

So visionaries think big, they generate creative ideas and they take risks. They love risk. It does not cause them fear. It causes them excitement. They also become irritated by detail and can disengage easily when bored. So we’ve had it before in our team where we’ve gotten a lot better at this but there had been times when we have had long boring team meetings and Leah wants to pull out her hair and leave and so this, it just makes sense when you understand people. 

You can appreciate that. Anyways, it’s just funny. We laugh about it and joke about it all the time. Operators get stuff done. They take the visionary’s big idea and they translate it into actionable tasks they like to be left to work alone. They will do whatever is necessary to complete the task they are given even if it means breaking a few rules. So operators will drive processors crazy. Processors devise and monitor the systems and the procedures necessary to enable an organization or an enterprise to deliver consistent results in a complex environment. They think literally and objectively and are averse to undo risk.” 

So there are the three different natural styles. A couple of more things that I’d just read to you really quickly about each one. Just so you guys can all understand at least at the high level until you read the book what each of these means for you. So the visionary, “Visionaries abhor routine. They hate it. They adore discussion and they adore debate. They love those things. They are comfortable with ambiguity.” 

So they don’t need all the data in the world like the processor tends to, to make decisions. Visionaries just make decisions. They just do it. They just take the risk so they are all risk. “They trust their own judgment and they use that often. So they really go on their gut. They are not wedded to past decisions. So something worked in the past, it doesn’t mean it is going to work in the future and they’re totally okay with doing something different.”

“The processor on the other hand, they value routine. They trust data and they collect a lot of it. They hate risk. They are wary of intuition and hunches. They prefer not to be rushed. They really like to take their time and comb over all the details and make sure they’re eyes are dotted and their T’s are crossed and they tend toward the status quo.” So they don’t want to rock the boat. 

“The operator, they are action-oriented. They improvise and they move on. They ask forgiveness rather than permission. So they’ll make random decisions on their own and I totally do this and then I usually end up regretting it. So I am an operator by the way in our business. I am higher operator and very low visionary. So operators also work prodigious hours. They can be workaholics. They often work alone and they do not like being micromanaged.” 

They just like to be told, “Here is the job, here is what I expect at the end, now you go and do it” right? They just want to be left alone and let me do my work. Now, this all ties together is the synergist is the kumbaya person. They like relationships. Not that any of these other people don’t like relationships but the synergist is really relationally driven and they love peace. They love to bring people together for whatever the common thing is. 

So for the organization’s good, whereas this is the difference. The main difference here is the visionary, processor and operator, they are all driven by their own agenda. The synergist is driven by the agenda of the organization. That’s what drives them, that’s their primary objective that’s their primary concern and the operator, visionary and processor all have their own individual concerns that drives them. So getting a good balance and learning to be more synergist is definitely a good thing. 

If you do not have much synergist in you but it is also okay if you don’t have any synergist. So it is not the end of the world, this is just information. Take it, learn from it, grow from it and apply this. You can apply this to your music business. You can apply it to your relationships. I mean it is going to help in all of life. 

20:40 Leah: Yeah and what I love about this whole concept is the fact that we are not built and meant to be everything to everyone in order to be successful and that literally, we have limitations like wiring limitations. The way God wired us and there are other people we need in order to succeed and so like when you are getting any business off the ground, you play all four parts. You are the operator, you are the ad manager, you are the graphic designer sometimes even though we shouldn’t be. 

You are the customer service person, you are everything. That is totally normal, totally expected when you are getting off the ground. When you get to a certain level, you’ll know when that time comes. I think everybody is aware of that. There will be a time where you’ll be like, “Okay it is time for me to get some outside help” but even now, you guys already are. I mean you are most likely not designing your own graphics and your own artwork, right? 

So you are learning to delegate micro delegation right? Micro delegation is totally cool but then when you get to that next level, you are making consistent revenue and you don’t want to spend all day answering customer service emails coming in. Something went haywire at Shopify or whatever happened. Someone’s order didn’t arrive and you need to look into it or something, you don’t want to be the one doing that all the time. 

And so they have like a part-time assistant in the future. Just be thinking that way. Just be thinking to be prepared and then the exercise of letting go, you are going to face a little resistance there because it is your baby. You built this, you don’t want someone else to screw it up even though we screw it up all the time and I face this as a visionary. I am also a perfectionist too and I don’t know Steve if that runs for the other ones where visionaries are just naturally more perfectionist. 

But I definitely know that I am so I don’t like it when people screw up. It bothers me because that makes me feel like they don’t care as much about my business as I do and the fact is they don’t because it is not their business. So to just know that and then setting really clear expectations. We are going to talk about that today based on someone’s question. So I am so glad we talked about this. Sorry if I am all over the map I get excited about this sort of thing and I just see the value. 

And you guys understanding a little bit about this and how it can affect you personally and you build your music business going forward so. 

22:53 Steve: And I’ll just add to that too that this program, Elite program is to help you build a real business. We are not just giving you some principles to go start selling CDs which that is part of it but the purpose here is to help you build something that is really sustainable and long term. We are thinking long term here in this program. This is something that is going to last, it could be for the rest of your life, right? So a part of that is actual business principles and relationships and all that kind of stuff. So there will be stuff like this that we’ll throw in from time to time. 


23:29 CJ: Well, I am sure you got a lot out of that and you’re probably sitting there ready to take that sort of test and find out what your personality make up is. It’s is really, really an amazing thing. It will make a dramatic change as I said at the outset in every relationship that you experience in life. So what a treat. The Synergist, you can get the book, How to lead your team to predictable success by Les McKeown and here is what I like for you to do today: 

If you would like to take your music business to the next level, if you are tired of being confused, if you are tired of being frustrated just basking in questions and trying to search the Internet to listen to podcasts and YouTube videos to try and figure out how you can manage your way in this new industry, this new way of doing the music business, well then you need some help. You need something like the Savvy Musician Academy, our Elite program. 

And if you like to do that then I want you to do this: Visit callsma.com today. That is callsma.com and you could talk to one of our staff members and they will take you through what we do here in the elite program and see if it’s a good fit for you. It is making a difference in the lives and music careers of so many and that can be you. So go to callsma.com today and one more thing, if you’d like to show your appreciation for the Savvy Musician Show podcast then please go and leave a review. 

Give us five stars on whatever podcast channel you listen to this on, iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher, leave us some stars and leave us a great review. It certainly helps us to rise in the rankings and it helps other people just like you discover this impactful podcast. So thanks again for all the support and we will see you next time. 

Episode #056: The Secret To Understanding Social Media

Today our episode is going to take on a bit of a different format. We thought it so important to give you a backstage look at how we approach the in-depth aspects of the application of what Leah teaches in the phenomenal Elite Coaching Program. On this episode CJ Ortiz talks about the secret to understanding social media, something all of you can benefit from! Marketing in the music industry has drastically changed over the last two decades and, even if you get signed by a label, you would still have to pull your weight in terms of marketing your music. But, how do you sell your music when people have become so resistant to being sold to? The answer is in making sure that your social media posts are curated for the culture of your audience and that they are organic and personal, blending in with people’s social media feeds. And when you get the hang of it, it will happen without much thought at all, freeing you up to use your creative energy for other purposes. Still unsure about social media or just looking for a quick brush-up course? Be sure to tune in for this one! 

Key Points from This Episode:

  • How the changing music industry in demanding a lot more from musicians. 
  • Why you don’t have to have everything together, as long as you’re on the way. 
  • Intentional pain and what something like a 250-mile-run can teach you about yourself. 
  • Why you have to get to know the culture of your audience to get marketing right. 
  • How social media has largely replaced the need for the work of a label. 
  • The importance of social media posts being organic and personal. 
  • You really only understand social media when you don’t have to think about it anymore. 
  • Why conventional sales techniques no longer work. 
  • Facebook Marketplace and why it appeals to people. 
  • How funnels work and build the know, like and trust aspects that you need to sell your music. 
  • The stages of onboarding your audience: awareness, interest and commitment.
  • The different ways in which you can raise awareness on social media. 
  • And much more! 


“You can’t have music that’s great but a website that’s crappy, you can’t have a packaging that looks great and music that sounds terrible.” — CJ Ortiz [0:04:29]

“You’ll really understand this whole social media aspect of marketing when it completely disappears and you are not so preoccupied with it. You are just talking to people, that’s all you’re doing and they don’t want to be sold to.” — CJ Ortiz [0:12:50]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Superfan System Elite — https://savvymusicianacademy.com/elite/call/

Savvy Musician Mastermind on Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/groups/savvymusician/

Savvy Musician Spotify course — www.savvymusicianacademy.com/Spotify

Click For Full Transcript

00:23 CJ: Welcome to the Savvy Musician Show podcast. This is CJ Ortiz, the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. I’m excited to share with you the next two podcast episodes which Leah and I have decided to do something special here. Something she doesn’t normally do. Which is to give you a backstage look at what goes on in our Elite Coaching Program.

Each month, all of our coaches will spend one afternoon with as many students as will attend the online class and we will have an in-depth coaching call related to that coach’s expertise and on a particular topic of interest and application to the Savvy Musician Program. What we’re going to do is we’re going to share two of them. One is mine which is what we’re sharing today in Episode 56. “The secret to understanding social media” and then we’ll do in the next episode, one from one of Leah’s coaching calls with her Elite group on taking teamwork to the next level. I think you’re really going to get a lot out of this.

Again, not the usual podcast format but gives you again a real backstage look at how we approach the in-depth aspects of the application of what Leah teaches in this phenomenal course. Today, we’re going to talk about the secret to understanding social media and I think you’re going to get something out of this that you can apply today. That’s what’s important.

We want you to get into application as soon as you possibly can. What you can do for now also is leave us a review. Please go to your respective podcast player, whether Stitcher or iTunes or Spotify and be sure to give us five stars, leave a positive comment that helps us in the rankings and it helps other people to discover the Savvy Musician Show so that would mean a lot to Leah and myself.

Let’s go into the coaching call that I had with the group on the secret to understanding social media.


02:28 CJ: There’s a tremendous sense of mission and nearly every student that I talk to personally and I could see it in a lot of you and some of the stuff that you post. There’s a sense of mission. You have a desired outcome that you want people to experience with your music. I think that’s great. That is even better when you introduce the elements of social media where we can actually communicate with people on this minuscule microscopic level where the targeting is so focused and you’re able to relate to people that are so perfect for your culture, your lifestyle and obviously your music.

We got to be careful about what we allow in because we don’t want to confuse anything more, it’s challenging enough as I said to learn everything that’s being taught in this group. We don’t want to compound the problem by introducing other voices. Let’s just listen to the voice of the shepherd and in this case, that shepherd is Leah and she’s the one who has proven it.

I’ve been in marketing all my adult life so I know the experts offline, online, I’ve seen them all, I’ve seen a lot of the music marketing people and I was talking to Leah yesterday when we’re doing the podcast and I can honestly say that what she’s created is the most important thing as an answer to what was created via Napster at the of the 20th century.

Everything essentially changed and I don’t think people are aware of the full extent of how much everything has changed. In a lot of ways, it’s good. In a lot of ways, it’s also a challenge because now, yes, there’s more that you can do for yourself and you don’t have to hire out, you don’t have to get signed by a label, however, that means you’re going to have to deliver, you’re going to have to bring your game, you can’t suck.

04:29 CJ: You can’t have music that’s great but a website that’s crappy, you can’t have a packaging that looks great and music that sounds terrible. You got to be bulletproof so that from whatever angle people look at you, right? Three dimensional, you’re bulletproof, you’ve got your act together.

I see here, Jenifer Lin who I talked to a month or so ago and I remember coming across her stuff and some of these students that when I got the request for the call and I go to look at their stuff and I see everything is together and I’m like, well what do they call for? We get into it, we find out some of the reasons why but in other words, initially when I look at them, the packaging is great. Her stuff was really great and very well thought out, very well done.

These things are going to make tremendous impressions on people. Whatever it takes for you to get all of that squared away, you need to do that and we’ve said this before, this is not a race, you don’t have to keep up with another student, you don’t have to get this all done by whatever in terms of getting it all done. You got to get through the modules and that’s what’s important.

But you may get through the modules and still have to come back and review things. Still have to come back and get on a call. Still have to come back. That doesn’t matter, right? We’re going to get there. It’s not important that you’ve arrived, it’s just important that you’ve left and it’s important that you keep walking.

05:53 CJ: Sometimes I get into these weird interests. I’m curious about it from an information standpoint. Not because I want to do these actual things but I’ve been curious as of late, some I looked at many years ago but I got back into it recently but it’s just the whole thing around ultra-marathon runners, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen some of those but these are these incredibly insane people who they do ultra-marathons which means, we’re talking hundred to 250 mile marathons.

None of this 25.6 horse crap they give you at the Olympics. In fact, these people run that every morning, they run Olympic marathons every morning just for training but they’ll run these 250-mile-long marathons and it will be through terrain. This is crazy stuff. Now, the difference is that in order for them to make this distance, it will be over 36 hours, 48 hours, 50 hours on some of these. 

And again, it’s through terrain. It’s through trails, it’s through long stretches, it’s through elevation, they’re obviously not running the whole time. Sometimes they’re walking and then they’ll have either their own team that drives ahead of them and they stop and they fix their feet and change something and try to gobble down as much food as they can and maybe take a nap for a little bit. Sometimes they’ll fall asleep on the trail.

Some of them will even — they go into sleep running, they literally fall asleep as they’re running which is dangerous when you know, hiking the damn Grand Canyon. However, I find no physical pleasure in anything like that. For them, it’s not so much the physical you know? It’s what they learn about themselves that’s important to them.

07:43 CJ: There is something that happens to you when you put yourself through that much pain willfully, intentionally. Because you get down to the true nature of who you are because you can be at that point so beyond the pale, so worn out, so beyond weary that you don’t have the strength for pretention anymore. 

You don’t have the strength for fake anymore. You know, you’re completely vulnerable, you are completely honest, you are completely moving beyond what you think are your greatest ceilings. It’s very eye-opening. What it teaches you is you can pretty much do anything because if you could put yourself through this 250 mile run on top of ungodly terrain and come across the finish line victorious.

Yeah, you can learn the Facebook ad manager. You know, you can put out more CD’s, you can figure out your micro-niche. You can get that audience finally dialled in. I started running – be careful of my terms after all that. I started running an ad, not literally running. Running some ads, page likes ads a couple of weeks ago.

It took just a few minutes and I let it run for a couple of weeks and it was fluctuating but stayed always under 10 cents per like. It wasn’t a lot of thought, it’s just after so many years of doing this with my particular audience, I just know, you know? You just know. You can’t just cover that in a module, it’s not just a five step thing.

09:17 CJ: You have to get to know your culture, you have to get to know your people and what communicates with them and what really speaks to them, the couple that I mentioned earlier that I talked to, they wanted me to take a look at a post because they were having some challenges with the social media and I said, check out this one post and it has one of the members in the band, it shows a selfie of them and they were just a very simple question they had asked.

They said, “We did this post based on what you taught in the last coaching call. It’s our best performing and most engaging post” and I said, “Okay, well that’s good, I mean, you want the fruit of that.” “We’re just concerned about how we do this again.”

I want you guys to get past that. I want you to be able to just really be one with your crowd, your culture because people are going to buy from you because as they say, they know you, they like you, they trust you. But this means, we said this in the last call. You can’t approach this just like the music industry with the only difference being that we’re marketing online as supposed to in Billboard Magazine, right? Because the previous era of the record industry, that’s what they did.

Signed an artist, made an album, produced the album, marketed it, right? If you’ve ever met any one of your fans, it wasn’t until you went on tour. The label handled everything. No, social media has changed that completely. You can’t get online thinking okay, let me learn all this stuff from Leah and I’m just going to do exactly what the label did. I’m going to produce music and I’m just going to market it out there and Facebook is my Billboard Magazine ad. It’s not going to work.

11:00 CJ: It is not going to work. It’s just not going to work. No, you have to be somebody’s best friend on Facebook who happens to make music. That’s the way it works that’s what we’re dealing with. So look at how some of the thought leaders do it. It’s very much a personal following on social media, you know and like we said before, your post is appearing right above a post from their best friend and right below a post from their mom. 

And so this couple had asked me earlier about why that particular post that they modelled after what we talked about works so well, they had a picture of the girl and she was asking him to go on a walk to run some errands and was asking about what to listen to and so people just started chiming in. Well because her post looks very much like what a post would look like in between somebody’s best friend’s post and somebody’s post from their mother. 

And so it blends, it works seamlessly in this new format. So that is going to be really, really important that you glean these non-technological approaches to things. It’s about the organic. It’s about the personal. You’ll really understand social media when you are not talking about it anymore, right? If you’re a guitar player or a piano player, you are really a great player when you are not thinking about the instrument anymore, right? 

You’re playing, it’s like an extension of you right? You are not giving thought to the gauge of strings anymore. You’ve already chosen those, it is already to your liking. It is already to your fitting. You are used to it, you can see the little areas where you have worn the wood on your acoustic or it’s one with you. You don’t talk about it. You are talking about the music. You are talking about the listener. You are talking about what you are trying to say. 

12:45 CJ: And you could sit there and play something and still have a conversation all at the same time, right? You are one with it. You’ll really understand this whole social media aspect of marketing when it completely disappears and you are not so preoccupied with it. You are just talking to people, that’s all you’re doing and they don’t want to be sold to. They have a resistance to that, right? The idea of a salesman is coming to your door, or do people say “yay”? 

Is that what you do? “The salesman is coming, oh boy get the kids.” No, nobody thinks that, right? You see ads when you go to watch somebody send you a YouTube link and you got ads you have to wait however many seconds. I don’t know, as soon as it is going to be a five-second before I do the skip ad or is it going to have to go through the whole – it depends on whatever they set that at and you just sitting there waiting for it. Do you look forward to that? 

No, you look forward to the fact when you watch a video now on watch in Facebook that when it gets to a certain point, you see that little tile that says “ad starting soon” and you’re thinking, “Oh I am going to click out of it” guess what? You can’t. It won’t let you stop and if you try to scroll down, it’s going to put it up on the corner of your window. You are stuck on that video. So no, nobody looks forward to any of that stuff but we are all sold all the time. 

So we are not opposed. We understand sales is a part of the process. We just don’t want it to be so blatant. We don’t want it to be so obvious. We want it to be more personal, more casual. That’s why you want to see hardcore money being exchanged, go to Facebook marketplace. Well, I got people coming out of the wood just to go pick up to take firewood for me. My son gets on there and he says, “Dad, I got rid of this. I got rid of that. I got read somebody is going to come by to get this.” 

I’m like, “Where did you get that?” “Facebook Marketplace” how long was the ad up? How long is the post up there? “I don’t know, five minutes” right? I mean people understand that. They understand exchange, they understand sales, they understand all of that but it’s the context of it all. The context of a Facebook marketplace, which is basically like Craigslist right? It is based on demand, what people want. They are putting in search terms and it is what people are asking for. 

14:57 CJ: People are not sitting around asking for electro space rock pop electro jazz, okay? But if they got to know you and how awesome you are and how much you understand the culture, which is all understanding all the things that they love and celebrate and read and watch and eat and do and they are going to be like, “I am going to buy your music because you are one of my tribe and you’re awesome and there’s no way somebody this cool doesn’t make good music.” 

But if you just think, “I am going to get in here and just sell music” I mean that music better be so beyond the held awesome and knocks people and you get those kind of things but nowadays, they tend to be more parody stuff, right? More like the mash-ups and somebody who I saw one when they took all of Trump’s speeches and put together the lyrics of a Megadeth song. You know it’s like, who has that much time? But these are the kinds of things that are being pushed around. 

So you have that challenge of that’s what you are up against when you are online here but if you can attract people to you, if you can that’s what the funnel is all about. That’s why that funnel is so important. This is where people really get bogged down because they don’t understand this aspect of it. Funnels are about building that know, like, trust aspect. That is what they’re for. For example, you see a mini version of it with probably when most of you went through Leah’s webinar for the Elite group, right? 

So you spend an hour or so with her on a webinar and you’re like, “Yeah” because an hour was a sufficient amount of time for you to go, “She is getting all the pain points and she is covering all the type of benefits that I’d like to see in my own music” and so you’re in. So that is just a mini funnel right? You went from not knowing a whole lot to knowing all about it and to creating an affinity for her and by the end, you were ready to get on a phone call. That’s a funnel. 

17:06 CJ: You went from awareness to interest to commitment, right? Awareness, interest, commitment, that’s how that funnel goes down just like that. So you are going to be somewhere in there with your music, maybe out of little bit all of them depending on where you are, you may not have marketed yet, you may just have set up your Facebook page. I don’t know where you are but awareness, interest and commitment. 

So awareness is that top of the funnel right? That is what we are bringing in everybody in. So that is awareness. I don’t like talking to a student and then two months later, we’re still talking about your micro-niche or we’re talking about whether you should use Drip or AWeber or whatever. Like I said before, I’d rather come and find you doing way too much than fiddling just with everything. I’d rather see you out there just aggressively hitting the streets so to speak. 

Than overly concerned about your micro-niche or the exact wording in your bio or something like that. You have to pound the pavement. You need to build awareness that’s one thing you can all do no matter where you are in this course. So my first question is going to be, are you running video view ads? Are you building an audience? Are you running page like? Are you bringing people into awareness? Are you making people aware of you? 

Leah is not somebody, you can say I stumbled upon Leah back in 2016. Well, that is not the only time you are going to stumble on her. That just happens to be the first time you are going to stumble on her because if you didn’t stumble on her that Tuesday on March 28th on 2016, you were going to do it two days later. Why? Because she’s freaking everywhere. You want to go to Instagram, she’s there too. You want to go over here? She’s there too. She’s going to get you, why? Because she’s all about awareness.


19:04 CJ: Well I hope you got something out of that, the secret to understanding social media. As you can see, it is something you can begin to apply today. So look at it that way. When the technology disappears and you realize you’re just talking to people, it’s going to make such a significant difference for you in marketing your music and building a dedicated base of super fans ready to buy your music. The secret to understanding social media is to understand that you’re just talking to people. 

So here’s what I like you to do today, if you are interested in becoming a part of the Elite Group, we would love to have you. So what I want you to do is go and visit callsma.com today and book a call with one of our staff members and learn more about the Savvy Musician Elite Program. It may just be the thing that you need. Thank you again for joining us on the Savvy Musician Show. Like I said, please leave a review, give us five stars and help others discover this impactful podcast. 

We’ll see you next time.