Fast Track Your Music Career's Success with a 90-Day Growth Plan
The D.I.Y. Rock Career: Planning
Part 4 - Fast Track Your Music Career's Success with a 90-Day Growth Plan
Well, a lot of the reasons why bands don’t achieve the results they want is because they don’t properly plan anything to make that happen.
Hell, they usually don’t even know what results they want to achieve!
Therefore, without a clear picture of what results are expected, and with no plan of action to achieve said results, it is pretty obvious that your band would not meet the expectations you internalized in your own mind.
Today, I want to discuss how to fast track your band’s success with a 90-Day Growth Plan.
But first, let me quickly introduce myself.
My name is Isaac Kuhlman, and no I am not a world famous musician.
Nor am I even a paid musician by career.
And no, I don’t have a background from a record label.
You might be thinking, “Well, then why the heck am I even reading this then?”
You would be smart to question the advice of someone who is not “living the life” of the thing they are talking about.
Why am I even talking about music then?
Well, rock music is my absolute passion.
I have played guitar since I was 11 years old (and still do) as well as drums, sing/songwrite, and play bass guitar.
I am also actively involved in the promotion of rock music through my podcast The Powered By Rock Podcast, our social media platforms, through community and local rock music involvement in Las Vegas, and through the website poweredbyrock.com which has articles, album reviews, gear to help musicians, and more.
The reality is that I am putting out this information to help my high school self and ANYONE else who is like that kid wishing to someday play for big crowds and record albums that people love.
And if there was ANY available information for me when I was in a punk band in high school on how I could actually make a career out of it, I would probably still be an active musician.
I will also tell you that I have been a part of online business consulting programs that have done over $5 million dollars developing business owners on becoming better at running their businesses.
On top of that, I have helped build e-commerce brands that have done over $13 million dollars in sales since 2013.
Does all of that revenue come back to me in the form of profit?
Hell no. I wish it did, but that’s not how business works.
And guess what…that’s not how bands work either.
Because whether you like to admit it or not, EVERY band is a business. Let me say that again, because a lot of artists want to believe in the carefree attitude of, “No, we are just jamming and having fun.”
That’s all fine and great, but as soon as you play ONE SHOW, write ONE SONG, record ONE TRACK, or even purchase ONE INSTRUMENT, you are making a business decision with your band.
EVERY BAND IS A BUSINESS. This goes for solo artists/musicians as well.
So, what does a guy who has run successful businesses and helped consult on and turn around business to be more successful know about helping bands make money then?
I would answer that question with one of my favorite self quotes I have used for years: “Business is business is business.”
Meaning, all businesses run on pretty much the same concepts, and to have a successful business, you need to follow the right advice, make great plans, execute the plans, create a great company culture, and so many other things that anyone who is NOT aptly prepared to run a business probably shouldn’t be trying to make money with their music either.
Hopefully, that makes it pretty clear as to why you might want to listen to me and not Tommy Lee or some other rockstar who likely doesn’t know the ins and outs of business but really just capitalized on their band’s management to help them achieve success.
Because, in the end, your band’s success depends equally on how well it is MANAGED as much as how great the music is.
And when you first start your journey as a band (heck, maybe even for years…or even forever) you will be managing your band to a large extent.
Now, let’s get back to the 90-day Growth Plan, because that’s why you are here.
I will say that this step will only be possible if you actually do the 3 steps in the process I have laid out before this which are:
Step 1 - Answer the Question, “WHY Do You Want to Become a Successful Musician?”
Step 2 - Create the Vivid Vision for Your Band’s Success
Step 3 - Create Your First S.M.A.R.T. Goal for your band’s success
The reason you have to do all three of those is because you need to know what GOAL you are aiming for before you start to actually create the plan.
So, if you haven’t actually gone through those 3 parts, then I recommend you do that now. This article will still be here when you are done…AND ACTUALLY DO THE ACTIONS ON THOSE STEPS!
Now that you have come back with a S.M.A.R.T. Goal, you are ready to break this down into a 90-Day Growth Plan.
If you have a goal that you want to achieve in one year, then you have four quarters in the year to progressively approach the goal and create plans to help you achieve that goal.
It is pretty widely accepted that humans work in 90-day cycles really well. Even the earth itself works in 90-day cycles called seasons.
So, let’s not try to reinvent the human psyche or the planetary changing of seasons.
What we need to do instead is put together a game plan of what needs to be accomplished in the next 90 days to help you get a good jump on your SMART goal.
For example, if your goal is to quit your job in 12 months time, and you need to figure out how to make $5,000 in income to replace your job, then you might start to plot out some ideas of how you can achieve $5,000 a month in 12 months time and how you can get closer to that goal in the next 90 days.
In this scenario your big 90 day goal might be to make $1,000 a month in income from your music. This may be possible. It also may be made more difficult if you have more band members to split income equally.
So, if you have 3 members in your band, it is easier to hit $3000 a month in income than if you are a ska band with 4 horn players and a total of 8 people in your band.
But also you may look to create music-related income for yourself OUTSIDE of the band as well at the start (teaching music lessons, creating a music course, taking acoustic performances or playing in a cover band, etc…).
Either way, you will need to start looking at what roads to income are familiar to you right now, and start to walk down those roads until you can make enough money to really speed down those roads in a nice car (all metaphorically of course, high-speed-car-accident deaths are not the rock and roll cliche you want to aim for).
So, if you start thinking about the current gigs you play, is $50 two times a week going to get you to where you want to be?
Can you jump on bigger shows? Can you play corporate events? Can you perform at an organized event that pays better (charity events usually pay for their talent to perform, for example)?
Even if you don’t think you are at the level of a “big-time band” you can still play paid events that will likely increase your exposure and potentially pay you more.
INDIE ARTIST SECRET - Most musicians think that making money with their music is a cardinal sin, and they never want to be seen as “sellouts.”
A sellout is someone who takes money to do something they normally wouldn’t do unless they got paid to do it.
However, if you are taking money to play YOUR OWN MUSIC that was created without monetary incentive, and that you would have made even if you never made a dollar on it, then you are not “selling out.”
The people paying you money are “buying in” to your music and your band, and they want to help you advance your music career.
These are the types of relationships you need to seek out while working towards making income for yourself as a musician.
I am not telling you that you have to “sell out” and do something that you don’t want to do in order to make money.
I am saying that you can play the music you already play but get paid more by looking for the right people to allow you to do so.
I am telling YOU that other people are going to BUY IN to your music if you know how to market it properly.
YOU also have to buy into your own music, yourself, and your goals if you EVER want someone else to believe in you.
Of course, the exact steps may be unknown to you right now, but start thinking about the big 90-day goal first, and then work backwards to your 60-day goals and 30-day goals to help you achieve the 90-day goal.
So, if your 90-day goal is to play 3 shows in month 3 that equal a total of $2000 in income for the band, you have to find a way to get paid $667 for each show on average. That’s not out of the realm of possibility for most bands.
You just need to start acting like a more professional band, and you need to start acting like a business who will play your music for more money (and to have fun).
Right now, you can download our 90-Day Plan template to help you start working towards your goals.
Download the FREE 90-Day Growth Plan Worksheet to use so you can plan your next 90 day path to getting closer to your goal of turning your music into a lifestyle without selling out.
Just remember, that you can’t just write this up without doing the work from the previous sections that I talked about.
Otherwise, you will just have a random 90-day plan that you are not sure how it helps or even if you want to achieve it.
Keep your eyes peeled for more blogs on how to help your band grow into an entity that can actually pay you for making the music that you want to make.