It’s just a few weeks before the new year and aren’t we all excited to make things bigger and brighter in 2018?
Here are some resolutions that can definitely push your career forward:
Give yourself a pat on the back always. From now on, be proud of yourself. You’re reading this because you’re a driven person and let’s be honest, sometimes you’re too ambitious it drives you (and everyone else) crazy. There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious though as long as you don’t belittle your accomplishments. Sometimes we get so focused on the big goal that we just want more, more, more! This is unhealthy and could lead to stroke and possible career burnout. Think back of the efforts you exerted from the beginning of the year til now. To do: Make a list and congratulate yourself for every single effort and accomplishment, big or small. This will serve as your fuel to go the extra mile. Without looking back and being truly grateful, nothing will be fulfilling even if everything works out well for you in the coming year.
Take Time to Look at the Big Picture. After looking at the past and being thankful, it’s time to look at the big picture. Envision what you want at the end of the year. You have to be somewhat realistic but still ambitious. By that, don’t imagine you’ll win the lottery and instead imagine that you’re earning much more from your art. To do: Make a mental image of what you’ll accomplish by the end of 2018. Better yet, sketch it, print it, and post it on your wall. In order to be able to break down the challenges ahead into smaller tasks, you need to have a good idea of what actually is ahead.
Learn skills outside your art. Don’t think that you’re being sidetracked or that you’re wasting time. It will enrich your art. If you’re a writer and all you do is read and write, your writing will not be great. If you’re a singer and all you do is rehearse, your performances won’t be moving. Learn other skills and get your shoes dirty.
Listen, watch other genre. If you’re a fiction filmmaker, much has to be learned from watching documentaries. If you’re a metal musician, much has to be learned from rap. This can enrich your art and if you’re in the mood, you can even dabble with those genres. Don’t be too limited.
Be sure you are receiving all of the money you are due. Money, money, money. Yes, we do this for passion but we have to be wise. We have to get every cent that we deserve because this is the only way we can still make more art. If we don’t get entrepreneurial, we won’t have a career in ten years. We’d better just stop now and work in a factory. Take charge o your finances or let someone do it for you.
Show up more often. Take relevant workshops, courses, seminars etc, and attend conferences. Attend meetings, meet people, network. Community and good network can level up your career. However, make sure you’re spending more time on your art than networking. Network can only help you so much.
Determine your most productive time and set your routine around it. Try working in the morning, try after lunch (but most artists don’t get productive during this time), and try working at night. Whichever you think makes you most creative and productive, stick to it and build your routine around it. This may not be easy especially if you have a day job and kids, but it can be done. Maybe it’s not also certain times of the day but certain days of the week where you set for your creative pursuits. The whole day Saturday perhaps without any interruption? Then set it and respect it. Let others know that you can’t be disturbed on that days.
Develop and improve your brand. It’s time to establish your brand and incorporating it to every single thing- your website, your packaging, your album, your merch, your Instagram. Talent is important but branding is importanter…kidding. They’re equally important for you.
Be specific. Don’t just say “I want this or that”, or “I’ll do this, I’ll do that”, be specific. S-M-A-R-T. That means instead of saying “I want many followers”, say “I want 5,000 more followers on Instagram.
Learn to close the curtains. Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and 500 other apps can suck our time and take us away from what we’re supposed to do. If we keep doing this during our free time, we’ll never be GREAT. That’s for sure. That’s because we don’t allow ourselves to be bored and that’s because we become too conscious of our online persona and what others think. Learn to close the curtains when you’re doing your art. Don’t touch that phone!
James Hill is a veteran of the music industry. He first worked at Warner Reprise Records then later joined Interscope/ Geffen Records where he managed producers and songwriters and got his first platinum record for Keyshia Cole’s The Way It Is. He is now helping indie artists with branding and manufacturing through his company Unified Manufacturing, a CD/DVD/vinyl and merch company in LA.