4 myths that stop musicians from building their team
People frequently ask me:
“How in the world do you do it all?”
“You wouldn’t expect a musician to do all of THIS, would you?”
The blunt answer is “yes”, especially if you’re serious about making your musical dreams a reality.
But what I realized is there’s a bit of a mindset gap…
And once you’ve bridged this gap, you’ll be able to see this problem from a different angle, which will make it easier to solve.
Here’s what you need to know:
Myth #1: You’ve Got to Know it All
I think it’s easy to feel that way as an artist. Because when you think about it, even if you’re just the drummer in a band, you end up taking on a lot.
From personal practice and rehearsals, to shows and load-in/load-out, your responsibilities are more extensive than you might be inclined to think about.
And then, of course, there’s the whole issue of recording in the studio, playing to a click, keeping the beat tight, and so forth.
There’s nothing wrong with learning, and I’m a big believer in ongoing self-education.
I even covered it in episode 55 of my podcast:
But trying to gain competency in every area of your career — be it booking, marketing, publicity, admin, business, or otherwise — is a long road, and it’s probably not the best use of your time.
If you’re a drummer, you should be spending most of your time drumming.
If you’re a songwriter, then you should be pumping out song ideas.
You want to be spending most of your time in your genius zone, even if you’re occasionally pulled away to handle whatever tasks you’ve agreed to take on.
And, by the way, if you’re in a band, you should be divvying up tasks based on the strengths of each member.
Myth #2: You’ve Got to do it All
You should never get too good at what you hate, because then you’ll be stuck with the task.
I’m not saying it’s always going to be smooth sailing. There are going to be days you don’t want to get up to do what you need to do.
But that doesn’t mean you need to shoulder all the responsibility.
There’s an African proverb you may have heard:
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
What it means is that while you can achieve big results quickly working all by your lonesome, you can ultimately achieve more with the help of a team.
Entrepreneurs have many regrets. Some say they wished they had started building their email list sooner.
Others say they wish they had known about X book, Y system, or Z resource.
But the overwhelming majority say their number one regret was not hiring sooner.
You don’t need to be the one completing all the tasks, especially if the tasks are low impact, low priority, and tedious grunt work you’re not even good at and don’t enjoy.
Myth #3: You’ve Got to Spend a Fortune on Your Team
By now you should be starting to see how all these myths are interconnected. And by un-collapsing the pieces, we can begin to see the forest for the trees.
So, the insane part about this most musicians don’t realize is…
If they sign to a label, in many cases, they will instantly give up 70 to 95% of their gross revenue.
We’ll say the ratio is 80/20 just to make it easier to understand — the label keeps 80%, you keep 20%.
But you can easily flip these numbers upside down by taking ownership of your career and doing your own hiring, firing, outsourcing and so on.
And there are some incredible tools that make this process simple. Sites like Fiverr, Upwork, and Freelancer are all great examples.
Whether you’re looking to get some graphic design work done, or you want your next lyric video created, guaranteed you can find someone with the skills, knowledge, and experience to be able to help you in the capacity you need.
Sure, it might take some digging. You might make a few mistakes.
But when you consider the alternative, of handing over 80% of your career versus keeping 80% of it, you can begin to shift your mindset around your spending, such that you’re actively reinvesting in your career instead of holding tightly onto your financial resources, which will just sit there and do nothing for you.
Myth #4: You’ve Got to be the Smartest Person in the Room
An entrepreneur typically wants to be the dumbest person in the room, so they can be a sponge, learn from others and allow the people around them to shine in their strengths.
Again, this goes back to knowing it all and doing it all, which is incredibly inefficient.
You do want to be a good leader. But being a good leader begins with self. If you lead yourself well, and ask good questions, you can lead a team no problem.
One of my mentors is an expert at this. When there’s a project he wants to bring to life, he gathers like-minded people who are committed to the cause.
And slowly, over time, he begins to move the team in the right direction. Remember the African proverb from earlier? He might not get anywhere fast using this approach, but he will go far.
Although he leads his people, he never tells them what to do!
He asks questions, guides the discussion, and helps his team arrive at the answer that makes the most sense for all involved.
Now, he’s willing to have as many conversations as necessary, getting to know the people around him, assessing their suitability to the project, understanding their motivations and desires, ensuring their level of commitment…
But besides teaching his team how to think, having conversations and sending emails, he doesn’t lift a finger. Incredible!
You may not have the same level of patience to lead people in this manner. That’s okay — you’re going to have your own way of going about things.
But the example is certainly one worth learning from.
Building Your Team, Summary
When you’ve got big goals and dreams for your career and your life, you’re going to be tempted to ask “how?”
This question, unfortunately, stops us dead in our tracks. The question we should train ourselves to ask instead is “who?”
There is always someone that can help us build a bridge from one canyon to the next. They might be a freelancer or a full-time assistant. They might offer short-term help, or they might become a permanent team member. That part will basically sort itself out, and you need not worry about it.
So, whenever you’re stuck, don’t ask yourself “how?”
“What conversation am I NOT having?”
Because THAT conversation is the one you need to have next.
Originally published at https://davidandrewwiebe.com on August 21, 2020.