Do you ever feel like you are just doing random things when you are trying to promote your music or advance your career? It is so easy to get lost in the endless list of tasks. Maybe you don’t even have a list of tasks. So let’s take a better look at goal setting for musicians.
What does success look like to you?
Before we can set our goals we need to have the hard talk. What does success look like to you? Now I want you to think about this carefully and make sure it is something realistic. And focus on the things that matter. For example, money is not a good measure of success. If money is what you are after, there are a million and one better and quicker ways to make money than the music business. Now playing music full time, could be a better measure of success. If it is, make sure you clarify what that looks like. Do you play full time in the local bars, tour, play covers or your own music?
You see, playing covers in your local bar every Friday night, might be fun now and give you some experience. But how will it serve your overall goal? Is it a viable step towards it? So write down what you vision success in music looking like. Then ask yourself, do you know anyone who has achieved this? This is important as you need t make sure your vision of success is realistic.
Are you willing to put in the work?
Often we might have an idea of what someone else success looks like just based on what we see, or what they try to portray. The reality often is very different. Most successful musicians work extremely hard and a lot of the hard work happens behind the scenes. Are you willing to put in the work? Are you willing to travel endless hours, figure out how to promote your music on social media with an endless amount of fresh content all the time, that you need to create your self? Are you willing to play in excess of 100 shows a year, and in the early days not getting properly compensated for it? Can you knock on thousand doors for 999 no’s just to get that one yes?
One year goals
If I haven’t scared you off yet, it’s time to start looking at the goals. If you have written down what the success looks like to you, it is time to break down the path to that success into small manageable goals. For example, if your goal is to be able to work as a full-time musician playing your own original music, what are the steps to get there?
You would need to build an active following of people who love your music. How do you do that? Social media content, Email list, Sharing your music and playing a lot of live shows. Think of it this way, why would a venue book you again and again? Because when they do book you, they know the venue is going to be full, and they are going to make money by selling tickets, drinks or both. And when the venue is full, you have a much bigger chance to sell merchandise as well.
So great one year goals would be for example:
- How many shows will you play in the next year?
- What do you need to do to book those shows?
- What are realistic metric targets for your social media accounts (Likes on Facebook, followers on Instagram, Twitter and subscribers on your YouTube Channel?
- Will you have your own website?
- How many people do you expect to signup to your Email list?
This is just a small segment to get you started, you can add to the list as much as you think you can take on.
The three-year goal planning will help you to take a better look at the bigger picture. How far into your overall plan do you want to be in three years time? Is it realistic? Will three one year plans take you there? Be ambitious, but realistic.
The three-year plan needs to be more flexible, and you can adjust it at the end of every year. If at the end of the first year, you are doing much better than the goals you set up for your self at the beginning of the year, then you can make your three-year goals more ambitious as well. If the first year was tough, and you did not hit your goals, you might need to adjust the first year goals as well.
Get started today
I hope the above will help you to put some focus on your career as a musician. Until you have set clear goals for yourself, you more than likely are wasting a lot of time. A time that you probably could use much more efficiently. So don’t leave it until tomorrow, get started today.
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