10 effective techniques that you can apply RIGHT NOW that will make you stand out as an independent artist until you get a manager
(which you really DON'T need).
*EDIT 6/11/18 -- I ADDED A VIDEO VERSION BECAUSE YAL NGz DONT READ*
Be dope. I wish it were that simple. You need to juggle so many aspects of your career to consider yourself an earning independent artist. These are techniques that have gotten me the most positive results in my environments. There are tons more rules to consider. These will spark some new direction in your journey.
1. GET A WEBSITE
Send people to your website. Let your website send them to all other useful social media sites. Sharing your instagram with people you meet is awesome and effective, and a website link in your bio will KILL IT. Let people see you've invested some time into yourself when they go to look at your account.
It doesn't matter what you use to host a website. Google how to make a website and click the first website creator you find. Buy your domain and GO!
2. UNDER-PROMISE & OVER-DELIVER
I learned this by watching J Hatch from iStandard. He always told me to under-promise, and over-deliver. It is easy to let your word get away from you, especially when you are a nice person. You always are making promises and tossing out favors by word. Don't let your words run dry. Make sure you mean what you say, and follow through if you make a promise.
The best way to KILL IT, is by offering someone a LITTLE bit of help, KNOWING you can do so much more for them. When you help them, make sure to do what you said and MORE. Maybe deliver something sooner than you said. The ways are endless. Be a person of your own word and simply under-extend what you can offer, to shine past your own word.
3. ALWAYS FUCKING COMMUNICATE
The more you communicate with people, the better your results will be when anything comes up. Be clear about what your part of a project is. Clearly let a venue know what your situation is. Thoroughly explain your position.
Maybe you don't want to talk to everyone about everything all the time. Make sure, you communicate effectively to people how to properly contact you. If you don't want someone too close to you, tell them how you prefer to communicate. It saves you a headache and you don't run the risk of looking like a jerk when you leave them on "seen".
Lastly, communication covers your ass when you can't keep your word. Better to communicate when you can't keep your word, than to let something go sour because you preferred to stay quiet. Even though excuses are boring, you'd' be surprised how understanding folks are about most "excuses".
4. DON'T BE OPENLY MANIPULATIVE
Being nice to someone because they can help you in the future is smart, and shady. Sometimes you have to be a part of some quasi-maniulative shit that may use someone else's resources. Do not openly seek these situations out.
Maybe you really need an e-mail addresse from an important person. If you bring that up within the first couple of minutes of speaking with them, make sure you have something to truly offer them from the bottom of your heart. People can tell when you want to just use them for their resources, and sometimes they will respond negatively to that.You could also negatively affect those around you when they see your moves in the open. People prefer to be tricked than to be told they are being tricked. KILL IT by laying in the cut and knowing when to listen. You don't always have to just listen. Try not to bee too socially divisive (plotty) around people you don't know. If you can't control yourself, prepare to deal with emotional reactions to your actions.
5. LEARN TO GIVE AND TAKE CRITICISMS WELL
Speaking of responding emotionally, try to avoid emotins when it comes to dealing with improving yourself. If someone wants to tell you something about how to carry yourself or your personal brand, listen and respond with gratitude. It is one of the hardest things for me to do. Sometimes the person giving the advice doesn't get what you're doing. Later on you can decipher if it is worth keeping the advice for yourself. You are still your own person. A great artist also knows when (and HOW) to ignore advice.
Another great way to KILL IT is to also step up and give a constructive criticism when appropriate. Giving feedback on a person should be given TO THAT PERSON as direct as possible. To get the best results, it helps to use the "BUILD, BREAK, BUILD" method. First you "BUILD" them up by telling them something that is actually dope about themselves. Then give them your critique... thats the "BREAK". Finally, "BUILD" them back up by giving them sufficient materials to work with. A bad critique is as useful as any opinion about Kanye West.
6. IF YOU DON'T KNOW, OWN IT (THEN RESEARCH IT)
This also ties in well with taking criticism well. OWN when you make a mistake or fall short. You don't know most things, and you aren't always correct, and you need to be okay with that. I always recommend researching something you don't know. Everything is on the internet. If you "can't" do it because you "don't know how", you just aren't using the youtube well.
Also if you ever are having a disagreement with someone else's about their opinions, take a step back. Especially if you aren't sure about your stance. The best way out is saying you don't know, or you aren't sure about the facts on the issue. Most cases, you will find that you are arguing with someone about something you BOTH shouldn't be riffing about because you BOTH don't have sufficient enough facts and information.
KILL IT by always steering conversations toward ideas rather than people and what people said/did.
7. SHARE INFORMATION
When I took Martial Arts growing up, my Dojo ran on disciplinary pillars and ideals. One of the ideals read "I am my brothers keeper" & "each one, teach one". Similar to "no child left behind", this perspective helps keep a strong sense of community as you grow. Instead of building walls and pretending your shit stinks less, find ways to provide value to others through sharing information. Sharing means asking for as much information as you are giving. You also may learn something dope in the process.
The best way to KILL IT is to link with people who can teach you while you teach them. You both will be empowered to work more.
8. VALUE YOUR OWN TIME
If you don't value your own time, you are more prone to waste it. You also run the risk of looking like a time-waster to people that move and shake. Do you always have to be working on something important every moment? No. Think about your time as hours you can either produce or consume. Consider right now if you are producing, or consuming. In short, not all consumption is a waste of time, and not all work is productive. Figure out where you land. Right now, in the markets, money is time/attention.
A good way to find a mark is ask yourself how much each hour of your time costs. Would you work at the library for $5.00/hr? Would you work at the library for $500 /hr? What if you had to work 7 days a week? Figure out when you should hire someone to do a task and when it's best to do it yourself to save money/time. KILL IT by charging people for your time. That will help you figure out how much value you ACTUALLY bring to the table.
9. act like you will see people again
This ties in a bit with my manipulation point. Always act as if you will talk to someone again. Chances are you will. If talk too much about every possible plan in the universe with someone when you first meet, you give yourself too much pressure to follow that energy up. Better to underplay your hand, or play neutral and factual when you first meet someone, THEN make a strong follow up. If you want to seal a deal with a first impression, make a stronger follow up than your initial meeting.
Its healthy to be competitive, and a good way to ensure you are a valuable player in the market is behaving like you will see people again. If you have an idea, instead of trying to land every big contact by over-pitching yourself in one conversation, say less and say you will reach out soon. Make sure you snag a useful point of contact (you can usually doing this by casually asking someone the best way to reach them... simple huh?). That is how you BEHAVE LIKE YOU WILL SEE THEM AGAIN. FOLLOW UP. FOLLOW UP. BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD. Mean what you say, and follow up + through. If you don't follow up, the next time that person sees you, what are you going to say to them? Excuses are boring.
10. ALWAYS BE BOOKING
Stop looking for a manager. Manage yourself. I heard it once said at a music seminar that you don't need a manager unless you are getting paid for your product. YOU KNOW when you are being paid for your work, because you most likely will need a lawyer. You don't need a manager unless you have a lawyer either. Most good entertainment lawyers will act as a stand-in manager on important issues until they link you with someone who actually CAN be your manager.
That being said, you are also your own agent. Dig deep within yourself and conjure up a show. If no one books you, book yourself. If you don't want to play alone, book people around you that you like. If that is too much work, you must be too expensive to hire yourself. Imagine what it would cost for someone ELSE to do that legwork for you. In any year past 2012, you should be able to manage a small business online using the googles. Treat yourself like a small business and facebook your google to any craigslist facebook venue group wall. See the people booked at the venues you want to play and talk to them. Ask them how to situate yourself like they do. If they tell you go away, be humble and find another valid way in. Maybe somewhere else. Think outside the box, and whatever you do, keep trying.
Brooklyn born/raised. Everything else is just icing on the cake.